LAN cites widebody fleet flexibility with 787

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Chile's LAN does not rule out deploying its new Boeing 787 to the fleet of Brazil's TAM, which it recently closed a merger with.

The airline's chief executive Ignacio Cueto says that the carrier will make decisions in the coming months on where to operate the aircraft, besides the initial destinations it has named.

"We have to think about Brazil," says Cueto. Besides the 787, the merged LATAM also expects to add Airbus A350s to its fleet in the coming years. TAM has 27 Airbus A350s on order, comprising 17 A350-900s and 10 A350-800s. The merged carrier would have to plan on where to deploy the new aircraft, says Cueto.

LAN, which received its first 787-8 today, will receive another two aircraft by end-2012. It will add another two 787-8s in 2013 and seven more in 2014. LAN has 32 787s on order, comprising 22 -8s and 10 -9s.

Its first 787-9 will arrive in early 2015, says Cueto, who says the timeline was affirmed by Boeing executives in meetings this week. The airline will have all 32 787s join its fleet in the next 10 years.