Brazilian carrier TAM Airlines has confirmed it is to leave Star Alliance for Oneworld next year following its merger with LAN Airlines.
LAN and TAM established LATAM Airlines Group after completing their merger last summer and the group has now formally confirmed its selection of Oneworld as the alliance for all its passenger airlines. The decision means LAN Colombia will also join Oneworld from the fourth quarter of this year and will be followed by TAM around the second quarter of 2014. While no specific date has been set, the intention is for TAM to join Oneworld immediately after it leaves Star Alliance.
The future of TAM's alliance strategy - the airline only formally joined Star in May 2010 - has been up for debate ever since its merger with long-time Oneworld member LAN was announced in August 2010. It was further complicated by a competition ruling preventing the merged carrier from being in the same alliance as the region's second biggest carrier group, new Star Alliance recruit AviancaTaca.
"We evaluated all the possibilities and chose the alliance that offers the best benefits to our passengers, besides the best connectivity and products, as well as the greater synergies for LATAM Airlines Group," says the group's chief executive Enrique Cueto. It marks Oneworld's first airline member in Brazil.