BRAZIL'S TAM Group is negotiating to acquire between two and four widebodied aircraft for a Sao Paulo-Miami, Florida, route which it hopes to begin operating by early 1998. Talks are under way with Airbus and Boeing.

TAM says that 1997 will be a "year of consolidation". In 1996, the company bought Paraguayan flag carrier LAPSA and obtained permission from Brazil's civil-aviation authority to operate its subsidiary, Brasil Central, as a national, rather than regional, airline. Both companies were renamed and united under the TAM banner - LAPSA as Transportes Aereos do Mercosul and Brasil Central as Transportes Aereos Meridionais.

They joined Transportes Aereos Marilia, which in 1996 claimed a 55% share of the regional market in Brazil. LAPSA's two Airbus A310s were sold and the airline now operates Fokker 100s on routes to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.

TAM also owns Paraguayan domestic airline Arpa. The groupreported a profit of Real 57 million ($54 million) in 1996, up from Real 44 million in the previous year.


Source: Flight International