The Brazilian and the Portuguese leading airlines, TAM and TAP respectively, announced that they are entering into an agreement for code-sharing and linking their air miles program. The comprehensive allianceÂ comprises several areas, and according to a TAM press release both airline companies will take advantage of the synergies arisingÂ from their respective networks, products and services in the routesÂ connecting Brazil and Portugal.
The code sharing will be implemented by July and should translate into a significant increase ofÂ flight options for passengers, as well as into the linkage of the companies'Â mileage programs, TAM's Fidelidade and TAP's Victoria.
The agreement stipulates that TAM will be allowed to sell tickets for TAP flights in Brazil and Portugal. On the other hand, the Portuguese company will sell tickets for TAM flights not only in Brazil but to all of South America.
For TAM, the agreement will allow the commercialization of TAP'sÂ flights operated between Brazil and Portugal (Lisbon, Porto, Faro andÂ Funchal), strengthening TAM's position in the international market withÂ European Leisure passengers traveling mainly to the northeastern Brazil.
OnÂ the other hand, for TAP, it will involve domestic destinations operatedÂ by TAM to several Brazilian capitals and cities such as Belém, Manaus,Â São Luiz, Ilhéus, Porto Seguro, Campo Grande, Cuiabá, Aracaju, Vitória,Â Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Goiânia, Florianópolis, João Pessoa, Maceió,Â Navegantes, Porto Alegre and Foz do Iguaçu, among others, in additionÂ to cities in South America (Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santiago,Â Chile).
TAM and TAP also intend to extend cooperation to other internationalÂ routes operated by both companies from their hubs, subject to theÂ authorization of the involved countries.
"This agreement is key for TAP, given the dimension of the BrazilianÂ market and TAM's remarkable position in it. From now on, TAP will countÂ on a local partner with one of the largest service networks, bothÂ domestically and internationally, adding a great number of destinationÂ options with an irrefutable level of reliability and service quality, whichÂ will certainly bring great benefits to TAP's clients, who will also beÂ able to accumulate and use miles in TAM's network," states FernandoÂ Pinto, CEO of TAP.
Marco Antonio Bologna, TAM's CEO, says that the code share willÂ convert into benefits for passengers. "With TAP, the leading airline inÂ Portugal and with over 60 years of experience, we are going to offer newÂ flight options in the international market and another important entryÂ into Europe, for both the tourism and business markets".
Mr. BolognaÂ also highlights that TAP has a relevant role to play regarding the growthÂ of the Brazilian tourism market: "TAM will now have conditions to boostÂ the number of passengers transported to Brazil, and distribute them toÂ several cities within the country, with the advantage of theÂ interconnection of both companies' loyalty programs", he says.
TAM (Transportes Aéreos Mercosul, but originally Taxi Aéreo de Marília) has been the Brazilian domestic marketÂ leader since July 2003, and ended last March with a 51.72% market share.Â The company flies to 48 destinations throughout Brazil. With theÂ commercial agreements executed with regional companies, it reaches 75Â different destinations in Brazil.
In March, TAM's international market shareÂ was 62.86% among Brazilian airline companies. International operationsÂ include direct flights to seven destinations: New York and Miami (USA),Â Paris (France), London (England), Milan (Italy), Buenos AiresÂ (Argentina) and Santiago (Chile). With TAM Mercosur, it flies to seven otherÂ destinations: Asuncion and Ciudad del Este (Paraguay), Cordoba (Argentina),Â Montevideo (Uruguay), Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba (Bolivia).Â
The company also offers daily flights to Lima, Peru, operated inÂ code-share with TACA. Besides, it keeps commercial agreements withÂ international companies that allow passengers to fly to a wide variety ofÂ destinations worldwide.
TAP (Transportes Aéreos Portugueses) is the Portuguese airline market leader, established in 1945 and aÂ member of the Star Alliance since 2005. Its Hub in Lisbon is aÂ privileged access platform to Europe, at the crossroads with Africa and NorthÂ and South America, where TAP stands out as the leading European airlineÂ operating to Brazil. State-owned, the airline is set to be privatized later this year.
Currently, it is the airline with the most flightsÂ from Brazil to Europe, departing from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro,Â Salvador, Recife, Fortaleza, and Natal. Starting in July, TAP will also haveÂ five additional weekly flights departing from Brasília to Lisbon,Â reaching a total of 60 weekly flights.
TAP also enjoys a wideÂ destination network both in Europe (where it reaches 31 cities in 16Â countries) and in Africa (where it services the countries where PortugueseÂ as the official language, besides Senegal and South Africa, totalingÂ seven countries).
In 2006, the Company's airplanes transported over 6.8Â million passengers, of which 845 thousand flew to Brazil.