Brazil's TAM Aviação Executiva, one of South America's largest business aircraft companies, is to remain under Amaro family ownership following TAM's merger with LAN.

Capt Rolim Amaro founded TAM in 1960 as an air taxi company. In 1976 he established an airline division, which after the collapse of Varig grew to become the largest airline in Brazil and all of Latin America.

TAM earlier this month announced plans to merge with Chile-based airline group LAN and form the new LATAM Airlines Group. But TAM says TAM Aviação Executiva will not be part of this merger.

TAM says the Amaro family, which has continued to control a majority stake in the publicly listed airline division since the death of Rolim in 2001, will continue to fully own TAM Aviação Executiva after the merger with LAN is completed in 2011.

TAM Aviação Executiva has expanded over the years, adding fixed-base operation, maintenance, management and aircraft sales businesses. It is the exclusive dealer in Brazil for Bell Helicopter and Cessna.

It says its 20,000m² (215,300ft²) maintenance facility in São Paulo is the largest service centre in Latin America, handling about 1,500 aircraft each year.

Source: Flight International