LATAM Airlines Brasil, formerly TAM Airlines (Portuguese: TAM Linhas Aéreas), is the Brazilian brand of LATAM Airlines Group. The merger of TAM with LAN Airlines was completed on June 22, 2012. According to the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC), between January and December 2017, LATAM had 32.6% of the domestic, and 74.9% of the international market share in terms of passenger-kilometers flown, making it the second largest domestic and largest international airline in Brazil.
Before the takeover, TAM was Brazil's and Latin America's largest airline. Its headquarters are in São Paulo, operating scheduled services to destinations within Brazil, as well as international flights to Europe and other parts of North and South America. Shares in the company were traded on the São Paulo Exchange (BM&F Bovespa) and New York Stock Exchange as "TAM". Prior to the merger with LAN, the company closed its capital, transferring its shares to LATAM Airlines Group. However, in August 2015, it was announced that the two airlines would fully rebrand as LATAM, with one livery to be applied on all aircraft by 2018. The airline withdrew from the Star Alliance, and joined Oneworld, effective 31 March 2014.
The Origins: TAM – Táxi Aéreo Marília
TAM – Táxi Aéreo Marília and TAM – Transportes Aéreos Regionais were two different entities, although both belonged to the TAM Group. TAM – Marília, an air taxi company founded in 1961 at the city of Marília, provided the start-up infrastructure for TAM – Regionais.
TAM – Transportes Aéreos Regionais (KK)
On November 11, 1975, the Government of Brazil created the Brazilian Integrated System of Regional Air Transportation and divided the country in five different regions, for which five newly created regional airlines received a concession to operate air services. Founded by Rolim Adolfo Amaro TAM – Transportes Aéreos Regionais S/A was the third of those regional airlines to be made operational. Its services started on July 12, 1976, and its operational area comprised parts of the Southeast and Central West regions of Brazil, specifically the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, and parts of Mato Grosso, and São Paulo plus the possibility of serving the cities of Cuiabá, Rio de Janeiro, Londrina, Maringá and Brasília when linking them to its area of concession.
TAM – Linhas Aéreas Regionais was formed as a joint-venture between TAM – Táxi Aéreo Marília and VASP, the latter of which was then a state-owned airline. The airline received the IATA code KK on October 13, 1999. The new airline flew Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirantes at first, but these proved grossly inadequate for the task at hand, and even at full capacity needed to be subsidized by the government in order to be profitable.
TAM went on to purchase three used Fokker F27 turboprops, which were subsequently refurbished by Fokker in the Netherlands. In order to obtain the import authorization for the aircraft, a deal was struck with the government in which TAM was forced to maintain 3 Bandeirantes for every F27, as well as removing 5 seats from each one, bringing the F27's capacity down to 40 passengers. A fourth F27, previously owned by Air New Zealand, was added to the TAM fleet in 1981. By 1983, TAM had acquired 10 F27s. By 1981, TAM had flown one million passengers, and two million by 1984.
TAM (KK) joint operations with TAM (JJ)
In August 1986, the company, under financial stress, went public and began floating stock in the market. The same year, TAM – Transportes Aéreos Regionais (KK) acquired another regional airline, VOTEC, which operated in areas of northern and central Brazil. VOTEC was then renamed Brasil Central Linhas Aéreas. TAM and Brasil Central were both regional airlines and operated in different designated areas. They however operated as a consortium with integrated networks and fleet, with the most notable differences being the flight number IATA codes (whereas TAM had the IATA code KK, Brasil Central operated with the code JJ inherited from VOTEC), the different color schemes of the aircraft, and their designated areas of operation. In 1988, TAM flew its 3 millionth passenger.
On May 15, 1990, the Brazilian Government lifted restrictions on operational areas of regional airlines allowing them to fly anywhere in Brazil. As a consequence, Brasil Central was renamed TAM – Transportes Aéreos Meridionais, acquired the same color scheme of TAM (KK) but maintained the IATA code JJ.
In 2000 TAM (KK) was merged into TAM (JJ) and TAM (JJ) was renamed TAM Transportes Aéreos. The code JJ was maintained and the code KK was released back to IATA. It is now used by AtlasGlobal.
Despite TAM's success in the market, it was evident the airline would not last long when competing against airlines such as Varig and VASP, both of which already possessed Boeing 737s in their fleet. Amaro then tried to buy VASP, which was about to be privatized, and called the project "Revolution". Having lost the bid, he opted for slower growth with a gradual addition of new aircraft, re-dubbed "Evolution".
Consolidation of Services
On September 15, 1989, TAM arranged for the acquisition of two Fokker 100 jets. Like the F27s before them, TAM did not actually purchase these aircraft, but used Amaro's credibility to arrange for a third-party asset management company, Guinness Peat Aviation to purchase them and subsequently lease them back to TAM. Two more were added in 1991. In 1992, TAM carried its eight millionth passenger. By 1993, through the use of the Fokker 100 fleet, which now numbered at 14, TAM was serving 56 cities in Brazil.
In 1996 TAM bought another airline, Helisul Linhas Aéreas, which used the trade name of TAM. In 1997, TAM ordered its first large jets; the airline ordered 45 planes from Airbus, including 10 A330s, 4 A319s, and 34 A320s. In 1997, the Airbuses began to be delivered and the airline flew its first international service, from São Paulo to Miami International Airport. In 1998 TAM purchased the passenger division of Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos.
Two years later, in 1999, services to Europe were inaugurated through a code share service with Air France, to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. In 2000, the airline was renamed TAM Linhas Aéreas in Portuguese. Long running discussions to merge with Varig ended in 2004. In 2008, TAM transported 30,144,000 passengers, with an average load factor of 71%. As of 2010, the airline is owned by the Amaro family (46.25%), Amaro Aviation Part (3.52%), treasury stocks (0.27%) and minority shareholders (49.96%). It employs 24,000 staff. On May 13, 2010, TAM became the 27th member of Star Alliance. David Barioni served as the airline's president from 2007 to 2009.
In 2009 TAM decided to replace its Passenger Service System provided by Sabre, known as Sabresonic, with the Altéa platform from Amadeus. The migration to Altéa was completed in the first quarter of 2010.
On March 30, 2011, TAM signed a letter of intentions to purchase up to 31% of the shares of TRIP Linhas Aéreas, a regional airline which code-shares with TAM since 2004. A final decision had however been postponed, and finally in February 2012 the purchase agreement was not renewed. On May 28, 2012, TRIP was sold to Azul Brazilian Airlines. Code-sharing operations ended on March 28, 2013.
On December 21, 2009, TAM Airlines purchased Pantanal Linhas Aéreas. At that time TAM decided to maintain Pantanal as a separate airline within the TAM Group integrated into the network of TAM. Starting August 1, 2011 Pantanal operated flights on behalf of TAM, all with origin and destination at São-Paulo-Congonhas Airport. On March 26, 2013 Brazilian authorities approved the incorporation of all Pantanal assets by TAM and Pantanal ceased to exist. The incorporation process was completed on August 23, 2013.
In January 2013, the Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC) determined that TAM Airlines had the second worst safety record in the world. The ratings take into account the number and deadliness of the hull losses (destroyed airplanes) they have suffered in the past 30 years, how they have fared more recently, and how many flights they have flown without incident. The results do not take into account the cause of the hull losses, or whether the airline is at fault, so they are not a perfect measure of how safely an airline behaves.
The creation of LATAM Airlines Group
On August 13, 2010, TAM signed a non-binding agreement with Chilean airline LAN Airlines to merge and create LATAM Airlines Group. This was changed into a binding agreement on January 19, 2011. Latam agreement was approved with 11 restrictions by Chilean authorities on September 21, 2011. These included transferring 4 slots at São Paulo-Guarulhos to competitors interested in operating flights to Santiago de Chile, renouncing membership to either Oneworld or Star Alliance, restricting increase capacity on flights between Brazil and Chile, and opening code-share possibilities and fidelity program membership to interested competitors. On December 14, 2011, Brazilian authorities approved the agreement imposing similar restrictions as Chilean authorities. By August 2012 LATAM made a decision in favor of Oneworld and frequencies between São Paulo and Santiago de Chile were reduced: TAM had two pairs of slots while LAN had four. LAN ceded two pairs to competitors interested in using them which later was known to be Sky Airline. The merger was completed on June 22, 2012. As of May 5, 2016 TAM adopted the name LATAM.
Subsidiary: LATAM Paraguay
In 1994 TAM Airlines established a small subsidiary airline in Paraguay called ARPA - Aerolíneas Paraguayas with a fleet consisting mostly of Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft, formerly operated by TAM. On September 1, 1996, TAM via ARPA, purchased 80% of the shares of the former state-owned LAP – Líneas Aéreas Paraguayas and merged it with ARPA. The new airline was named TAM – Transportes Aéreos del Mercosur and maintained the IATA code of LAP, PZ. Today TAM owns 94.98% and the Paraguayan government 5.02% of the shares.
In 2008, following a branding strategy, the name TAM Mercosur was dropped and the airline adopted an identical corporate identity of TAM Airlines. However, its corporate structure remained the same. This airline is today informally known as TAM Paraguay, and uses the IATA code PZ. In 2016 the airline was rebranded to LATAM Paraguay, at the same time as all other airlines of LATAM group.
The network of LATAM Brasil and LATAM Paraguay covers Brazil, Paraguay, Europe, Africa, and North and South America.
LATAM Brasil codeshares with the following airlines:
- Air China (Star Alliance)
- Air France (SkyTeam)
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- LATAM Chile
- LATAM Paraguay
- Lufthansa (Star Alliance)
- Passaredo Linhas Aéreas
- Qatar Airways
- South African Airways (Star Alliance)
- Swiss International Air Lines (Star Alliance)
On June 16, 2005, TAM purchased 20 additional Airbus A320 family aircraft (including the A319, A320 and A321), with an additional 20 options. These are expected to be delivered between late 2007 and 2010, adding to the already scheduled delivery of 6 A320s between 2006 and 2008. At the same time, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus stating its intent to buy 10 of the new Airbus A350-900 plus 5 options, with deliveries planned due to commence at the end of 2014. However, LATAM received its first A350 in early 2016.
TAM has also signed a firm contract with Airbus to acquire 37 additional aircraft. The order comprises twelve A319s, 16 A320s, three A321s and three A330s and includes twelve unspecified extra options. This would bring the number of aircraft in TAM's fleet acquired directly from Airbus to 115 aircraft. The commitments are separate from deals in earlier years for 29 firm-ordered A320s and 20 options. The deliveries were concluded by 2010. In 2013, TAM announced that it would phased out 3 of the oldest Boeing 767 it operates; however, it later changed plans and decided to keep the aircraft, adding some more aircraft from LAN Airlines instead. They replaced the A330-200s. TAM also received the first aircraft of the A320 family with Sharklets in April 2013.
|Airbus A319-100||22||—||—||144||144||PT-TMD is painted in a "Rio 450" livery|
|Airbus A320-200||62||14||12||144||156||4 leased to LATAM Paraguay|
|Airbus A320neo||20||—||174||Are operating in LATAM Chile|
|Airbus A350-900||8||5||30||309||339||A350 launch customer in the Americas|
|Boeing 767-300ER||14||—||30||191||221||PT-MOC are painted in Oneworld livery|
|Cessna 208B Grand Caravan||Unknown||1999||Unknown|
|Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante||14||1976||1996|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-11||3||2007||2009|
|Piper PA-31-350 Navajo||Unknown||1976||Unknown|
LATAM Fidelidade (LATAM Loyalty) is the frequent flyer program of LATAM Brasil. Program points can be redeemed for tickets on airlines of the LATAM group Oneworld and other selected partners. It is divided into the following categories and percentages of mileage accrual:
|Card Type||Oneworld Status||Points Needed / Year||Economy class||Business class||First class|
|LATAM (former WHITE)||—||—||100%||150%||200%|
|GOLD (former BLUE)||Ruby||10,000||100% + 25%||150% + 25%||200% + 25%|
|PLATINUM (former RED)||Sapphire||40,000||100% + 75%||150% + 75%||200% + 75%|
|BLACK (former RED PLUS)||Emerald||100,000||100% + 100%||150% + 100%||200% + 100%|
|BLACK SIGNATURE (former BLACK)||Emerald||150,000||100% + 100%||150% + 100%||200% + 100%|
Incidents and accidents
- On February 8, 1979, an Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante registration PT-SBB operating a flight from Bauru to São Paulo-Congonhas, while on initial climb from Bauru, struck trees and crashed into flames. All 2 crew and 16 passengers died.
- On October 7, 1983, an Embraer EMB 110C Bandeirante registration PP-SBH flying from Campo Grande and Urubupungá to Araçatuba struck the ground just short of the runway threshold after missing the approach at Araçatuba Airport twice. Seven crew and passengers died.
- On June 28, 1984, an Embraer EMB 110C Bandeirante registration PP-SBC operating a chartered flight by Petrobras from Rio de Janeiro-Galeão to Macaé flew into São João Hill while descending through rain and clouds over the Municipality of São Pedro da Aldeia. All 16 passengers and 2 crew died. The passengers were journalists of well-known Brazilian networks who were preparing a special report about the Campos Basin oil fields.
- On February 12, 1990: a Fokker F27 registration PT-LCG operating a flight from São Paulo-Congonhas to Bauru, due to faulty approach procedures touched down at Bauru 775 m past the runway threshold. The pilot was unable to initiate a go-around procedure and went past the end of the runway, hitting a car that was passing on a road nearby. One crew member and two occupants of the car died.
- On October 31, 1996, a Fokker 100 registration PT-MRK and operating as Flight 402 from São Paulo-Congonhas to Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont crashed into an urban area during takeoff procedures and after engine no. 2 suffering at least three uncommanded reverse thrust deployments and thus losing power, stalled, rolled to the right and struck two buildings. All 95 passengers and crew on board and 4 people on the ground died.
- On July 9, 1997, a Fokker 100 registration PT-WHK operating flight 283 en route from São José dos Campos to São Paulo-Congonhas. The aircraft was climbing after take-off from São José dos Campos when a bomb exploded in the rear part of the passenger cabin. The uncontrolled decompression blew one passenger out of the aircraft. The aircraft made a successful emergency landing in São Paulo, despite the hole in the fuselage. The aircraft was repaired and returned to service.
- On September 15, 2001, a Fokker 100 registration PT-MRN operating the charter flight 9755, flying from Recife to São Paulo-Congonhas via Campinas-Viracopos, following an uncontrolled engine failure en route to Campinas had 3 cabin windows shattered by fragments of the engine and made an emergency landing at Belo Horizonte-Confins. One passenger was sucked out partly and held by another passenger until the aircraft landed. The passenger did not survive.
- On July 17, 2007, an Airbus A320 registration PR-MBK operating flight 3054 from Porto Alegre to São Paulo-Congonhas overran the runway while landing at Congonhas, crossed a major thoroughfare and impacted against a TAM Express warehouse. All 187 passengers and crew perished, as did 12 people on the ground.
- TAM Cargo provides cargo services.
- Multiplus Fidelidade is the customer loyalty network. On November 8, 2011, Multiplus and the Canadian company Aimia, administrator of Aeroplan, the loyalty program of Air Canada, established a joint-venture to create in Brazil a third company that would administer loyalty schemes of other companies.
- TAM Aviação Executiva provides air services for business executives.
- TAM Viagens provides vacation package services for Brazilians, while TAM Vacations provides vacation package services for Americans.
- Cine TAM: a cinema in São Paulo owned by the airline.
- TAM Museum: a museum of vintage aircraft located in São Carlos and maintained by TAM Group.
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