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LATAM signs joint business deals with American and IAG

LATAM Airlines Group has signed joint business agreements with Oneworld partners American Airlines and IAG, in a move that will strengthen its connectivity to North America and Europe.

The deals are subject to regulatory approval, which could take 12 to 18 months, says LATAM.

"This is excellent news for Latin America. Through these two agreements, we seek to significantly improve the benefits to our clients by providing them with greater connectivity between South America and the United States/Canada and also between South America and Europe," says LATAM chief executive Enrique Cueto in a statement.

"This step is necessary to offer the best network of connections for everyone in Latin America and increases the possibility of adding new routes and direct flights to new destinations as well as flights already operated by LATAM and affiliates in the future."

The agreements will give LATAM passengers access to more than 200 American destinations in North America, and 87 destinations served by IAG carriers British Airways and Iberia.

On a daily basis, that translates to 2,500 American flights within the USA and to Canada, and more than 900 flights within Europe on BA and Iberia.

American and IAG will gain access to more than 100 destinations through LATAM. The US carrier's joint business agreement with LATAM will cover routes in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. IAG's joint business deal with LATAM include routes in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

“Customers will benefit from more frequent and convenient schedule options than the carriers could offer individually," says American chief executive Doug Parker.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh notes in a statement that the airline group already has a close relationship with LATAM.

"This joint business would benefit customers by providing them with easier journeys to more destinations with better aligned schedules and increased frequencies. This would boost both tourism and business travel between South America and Europe.”

Walsh had spoken repeatedly in the recent year of IAG's desire to expand its partnership with LATAM.

The Latin American carrier adds that the new joint business deals will strengthen its planned hub in northeastern Brazil, which it plans to launch to boost connectivity to Europe. LATAM has shortlisted three cities but has yet to decide on the location of the hub. It has said it will announce the location in the first half of this year.

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