By: Marco Antonio Bologna
© Lara Venanzi
First of all, I would like to congratulate Airline Business for its 25 years of existence - a remarkable achievement.
During this quarter-century, we have seen a huge transformation of the airline industry. Fantastic technological improvement, a strong increase in passengers - more and more people flying. We are not considered a luxury product any more. We are becoming very popular and customers are becoming more demanding.
Costs and scale are essential to survive, and client advocacy has the same level of importance. So efficiency is the name of the game for this industry.
Consolidation is in place around the world. Freedom to fly and open skies are spreading over the regions. Taking account of this is the key factor to sustain an airline.
TAM and LAN announced their intention to combine their operations, creating LATAM. We believe this decision will show the industry we are in a period of irreversible consolidation. The only way to survive in an open skies environment is to be part of a group of airlines.
In our case, we also believe the best choice is intra-regional mergers. We are creating the biggest Latin American airline group. We are among the top five most valuable airlines by market capitalisation and rank number 11 by number of passengers transported per year. In other words, a very sustainable company.
We will, together, continue to offer an excellent product with very competitive fares, competing strongly with the foreign airline groups. As everybody knows, South America is one of the regions that offers the biggest potential to grow. Certainly, LATAM will be the leader in our region.
Our philosophy, our belief, our way to treat customers and manage our businesses efficiently will deliver strong shareholder value.
In the next 25 years, we will see an increase in deregulation and countries' borders will be just a reference in flight planning. More consolidation will drive the industry to have no more than 12 to 15 airline groups. Flying will be affordable for all.
Infrastructure needs to be addressed as soon as possible, particularly in our region. Governments should realise the airline industry is a wealth creator. Training and graduating new airliners is of extreme importance. We need to start now.
Finally, I am very optimistic about the industry. The main transformation is that we have changed the mentality, the mindset of our industry. We realised that a sustainable company or industry needs to deliver profit, people and to take care of our planet.
COVER STORY: NOVEMBER 2007
FROM THE ARCHIVES
"I would say [our success] is not a consequence of any particular circumstance. It was a decision by the company to add capacity at the right time in the belief that the market would grow. But against the odds we survived the turmoil of the economic rollercoaster and political vagaries.
Source: Airline Business