by Vinay Bhaskara
Yesterday, Dallas Fort Worth based American Airlines announced an expansion of its Latin American network, saying that it would launch services between its largest hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Bogota, Colombia, as well as a likely triangular routing between its largest Latin American gateway at Miami and the Brazilian cities of Porto Alegre and Curitiba. Both services are projected to begin in “late 2013.”
The move marks American’s latest round of long haul expansion in Dallas after it announced service from Dallas – Fort Worth to Lima, Peru and Seoul, South Korea earlier this year and recently took delivery of its first Boeing 777-300ER. Following its entrance into Ch.11 bankruptcy protection in late 2011, American had temporarily slowed down international growth. But that pattern appears to have shifted, and both of these additions make a lot of sense.
Dallas-Bogota allows American to connect with Oneworld partner LAN Colombia (via the newly signed code share agreement) and serve a growing local market, while the burgeoning economic and cultural ties between Miami and Brazil with robust leisure and business traffic alike will make the second route a winner (Porto Alegre is the one of the largest Brazilian cities without service to Miami).
Additionally, they launched two new code shares in the region; the aforementioned LAN Colombia deal and another agreement with Brazilian carrier TAM. “American’s new partnerships with TAM and LAN Colombia further strengthen our longstanding relationship with LATAM Airlines Group, Latin America’s largest and most premier airline group,” said Virasb Vahidi, American’s Chief Commercial Officer.
After LAN and TAM merged late last year to create Latin America’s largest airline, it was rumored that the merged carrier would gravitate towards the Oneworld alliance (TAM was previously a member of Star Alliance), and the new code share agreement only firms that suspicion. The deal will expand American’s already massive Brazilian footprint and give Oneworld customers more seamless connections throughout the Americas.