LAN and TAM do not expect changes to aircraft orders

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LAN and TAM do not expect any changes in their fleets or order books but anticipate their planned merger could lead to some new orders.

LAN CFO Alejandro de la Fuente says the fleets at LAN and TAM will "remain the same" as the two airline groups work on merging under a new parent company. But, speaking to analysts on 13 August to discuss the proposed transaction, he added that "obviously some things we will need to coordinate".

In a presentation to analysts outlining their proposed merger, LAN and TAM say they now operate a combined fleet of over 240 aircraft, including 143 at TAM and 98 at LAN, with more than 220 additional aircraft currently on order. The two carriers intend to keep all these orders and de la Fuente says there will also be opportunities to further expand the fleet as network synergies are explored.

de La Fuente in particular sees opportunities to further grow the freighter fleet as the cargo operations of the two carriers are combined. "We'll need more aircraft in future to develop that business," he says.

LAN currently has a large freighter fleet, with aircraft based at affiliate cargo carriers in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the US. TAM currently does not operate freighters but its belly cargo sales operation, when merged with LAN Cargo, should create growth opportunities across the region and particularly in Brazil.

LAN currently operates Boeing 767 and 777 freighters. On the passenger widebody side, LAN operates 767s and Airbus A340s with Boeing 787s on order while TAM operates a mixed fleet of 767s, A340s, 777s and Airbus A330s with Airbus A350s on order.

The two carriers have very complementary narrowbody fleets consisting entirely of Airbus A320 family aircraft. LAN and TAM combined have over 160 A320s with roughly 150 more on order

Most of their existing A320s are powered by IAE V2500s although TAM also operates some CFM56-powered A320s and LAN last month selected CFM56s for 70 additional A320s that were ordered late last year and earlier this year.

There are currently no regional aircraft in the fleets of either group except five ATR 42s at newly acquired TAM regional subsidiary Pantanal. TAM plans to phase out these turboprops within the next couple of years, and has been looking at acquiring 20 new 100 to 150-seat aircraft for Pantanal.

TAM president Libano Barroso told analysts this evaluation, which includes E-190/E-195s as well as Airbus A319s, is still ongoing and is not impacted by TAM's recent decision to temporarily sublease to Pantanal two A319s and one A320 "We don't have a decision yet," Barroso says, adding it is "a decision for the next months".