Latam Airlines Group SA (LFL:US), created by the merger of carriers based in Chile and Brazil, will join Oneworld, giving the global alliance a victory over rival Star.
Oneworld, led by AMR Corp. (AAMRQ:US)’s American Airlines and British Airways, and Star, headed by United Continental Holdings Inc., have lobbied Latam for its membership since August 2010. That’s when Chile’s Lan Airlines, a Oneworld member, said it would acquire Brazil’s Tam, a part of Star. The deal closed in 2012.
Gaining Latam helps strengthen the international network created by Oneworld’s members, the group said today in a statement issued at an alliance meeting in Hong Kong. American Airlines has the largest Latin American market share of U.S.- based carriers.
“It’s clearly good news,” Oneworld Chief Executive Officer Bruce Ashby said in an interview. “There was some competition, and we made a very, very strong pitch economically.”
A date for Tam’s departure from Star hasn’t been announced. It will join Oneworld immediately afterward, the alliance said.
Lan also owns airlines in Argentina, Ecuador and Peru that operate as Oneworld affiliate members. Affiliates generally are regional carriers with links to alliance partners.
Latam rose 0.3 percent to 11,191 pesos today in Santiago. The shares have fallen 0.53 percent this year, making Latam’s return the lowest on the Bloomberg Americas Airlines Index.
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