Just a few days after announcing an alliance with US's number 2 United Airlines, Brazilian Airline TAM is telling the world it's joining German's Lufthansa in a similar agreement. TAM and Lufthansa have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding today, in what they call "a starting point for a possible close cooperation."Â
The two companies should engage in various forms of cooperation in the coming months. The first step will be the implementation of codesharing on domestic and international routes.
Other possibilities include the optimization of the two companies' flight schedules and linking TAM's frequent flyer program, Fidelidade (Fidelity), with Lufthansa's Miles & More, as well as reciprocal sharing of VIP lounges in a number of airports.
"We are happy to find a trusted and professional partner in TAM in the growing Brazilian market," said Gotz Ahmelmann, Lufthansa's Vice President for Alliances, Strategy and Subsidiaries.
"Both companies are distinguished as innovators and for their high levels of quality and credibility.Â Our customers will soon benefit from our cooperation," added Jens Bischof, Lufthansa's Vice President for the Americas.
For Marco Antonio Bologna, President of TAM, the partnership with Lufthansa is in line with the company's strategy to seek alliances with leading companies in destination markets.Â
"We are going to explore possible synergies between the two companies' networks, and in doing so, we can offer new choices for flights in both Brazil and Germany."
Paulo Castello Branco, Vice President for Planning and Alliances, adds that TAM will have a local partner in the German market with a broad service network.
Currently, the Lufthansa group offers 20 flights a week between São Paulo and its three hubs in Frankfurt and Munich (Lufthansa), as well as Zurich (SWISS). Passengers coming from Brazil's economic metropolis arrive at their destinations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa with only one stop.Â
In addition, Lufthansa provides daily service to its Latin American destinations in Mexico, Caracas, Buenos Aires and Santiago, Chile (SWISS). In total, Lufthansa serves 192 destinations in 78 countries.
As for TAM, the company has been the Brazilian domestic market leader since July 2003, and closed last April with a 50.72% market share.
TAM flies to 49 destinations throughout Brazil. With the commercial agreements executed with regional companies, it reaches 76 destinations in the national territory.
TAM's operations in South America include direct flights to Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Santiago (Chile). Within six months, TAM will start operating daily flights to Caracas, Venezuela.
With TAM Mercosur, it also serves Asuncion and Ciudad del Este (Paraguay), Cordoba (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay), and Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba (Bolivia).
In April, TAM's international market share was 69.7% among Brazilian airlines. International operations include long-haul direct flights to the following destinations: New York and Miami (USA), Paris (France), London (England) and Milan (Italy).
It also maintains commercial agreements with international companies that allow passengers to fly to a wide variety of destinations worldwide.