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LATAM 'positive' on US-Brazil open-skies despite delay

LATAM Airlines Group says it is "positive" on US-Brazil open-skies falling into place, even as it acknowledges that it is still waiting for the deal to progress through government bureaucracy.

While Brazil's congress has cleared the open-skies deal, it has yet to receive presidential endorsement and is not officially ratified.

"It's more of a bureaucratic process," says LATAM's senior commercial vice-president Roberto Alvo on an earnings call. "Once that happens, we will file with the [US] DOT for a joint venture between LATAM and American. Then we would have to wait for the DOT to pronounce itself."

The launch of the US-Brazil open-skies pact has been a long-drawn-out process, with the agreement initially meant for implementation in October 2015.

Despite this, Alvo says the airline is positive as "we have passed most of the milestones".

Brazil's antitrust regulators have cleared the proposed joint venture between LATAM and American, but a similar authority in Chile has not. Alvo says it is not known when the Chilean agency will rule on the deal.

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