German carrier Lufthansa is entering a tight codeshare agreement with Colombian operator Avianca, strengthening Star Alliance's presence in the South American market.

The codeshare follows Lufthansa's decision to launch services to the Colombian capital Bogota. It also follows talks between Star Alliance and the Avianca-TACA group.

Lufthansa states that the codeshare will "significantly improve" access to the Colombian domestic network.

It will enable the carrier to provide beyond-Bogota connections to six new destinations: Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Medellin and Pereira. Avianca operates these routes with Airbus A320-family and Boeing 757 aircraft.

"South America is very much in focus in plans to expand our flight services," says Lufthansa airlines group chief Stefan Lauer.

Avianca passengers will also gain access to Lufthansa's five-times weekly connection between Bogota and Frankfurt. The Colombian carrier also connects to Europe through services to the Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona.

Subject to the carriers' securing traffic rights, the codeshare is to be extended in a second phase to international South American routes served by Avianca.

This second phase will also provide access to European routes from Madrid and Barcelona served by Lufthansa.

Avianca will also obtain benefits from Lufthansa's frequent-flyer programme on codeshare routes from the second half of next year.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news