TAM expects robust domestic growth this year

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Brazil's largest airline and Star Alliance carrier TAM estimates traffic in the Brazilian domestic market should grow between 15% and 18% in 2011.

The carrier states it believes much of the growth in Brazil during the coming years, "will come from middle class Brazilians that will fly for the first time".

TAM explains last year "we observed a change in the passenger profile in Brazil, with the migration of travellers from buses to airlines, especially on journeys of more than 800 kilometres".

In 2010 TAM launched a retail project targeted to those customers to bolster the volume of passengers at off-peak hours to increase load factors. The carrier's projected domestic load factors for 2011 are 67.5% to 70% and 83% for international flights.

TAM estimates its capacity in the domestic market this year should grow between 10% and 14%, and international available seat kilometres are expected to grow by 10%.

To support the capacity expansion TAM is adding two Airbus A330s, two A321s and three A319s in 2011 while reducing its unit costs by 5%.