Brazilian carrier TAM Airlines has been inducted into the Star Alliance network, putting the world’s largest and longest-serving airline alliance back on the South American continent.
“Our integration into the world’s leading global commercial aviation alliance will allow us to expand our services, offering our customers a smooth and integrated travel experience. There will always be a partner airline that will treat our customers as their own anywhere across the globe,” says Líbano Barroso, CEO of TAM Airlines. “Our brand is now global, and Star Alliance now has a strong presence in South America.”
TAM Airlines offers more than 40 destinations in Brazil and 10 airports across South America. Over the past years, the airline has expanded its intercontinental network to cover a variety of destinations in the USA and Europe, many of these being Star Alliance hubs. All in all, the Star Alliance network now counts 27 member carriers, offering more than 21,050 daily flights to 1,167 destinations in 181 countries.
“With TAM Airlines we gain a carrier based in South America, an important aviation market and home to many growing economies. Combining TAM Airlines’ network with that of our existing member carriers will allow Star Alliance to offer a very competitive product to, from and within this region,” says Jaan Albrecht, CEO of Star Alliance.
TAM Airlines’ joining completes a process which originally began in 2006 with the first informal negotiations.
“An intense information and experience exchange process resulted from the first contact,” says Paulo Castello Branco, vice president, commercial and planning for TAM Airlines. “After the official announcement of our acceptance as a future Star Alliance member in October of 2008, we started to align our operating processes, which involved our functional team at all levels, as well as those of all of our partner carriers. This was a great learning experience and a fundamental step towards our global expansion.”
TAM Airlines has not only increased the Star Alliance network offer, but is now providing a wide range of customer benefits. TAM’s Fidelidade customers now collect and redeem points when traveling on all other Star Alliance member carriers. By the same token, participants in the other member carriers’ frequent flyer programs earn points every time they fly TAM Airlines and can redeem points on the TAM network.
An added alliance benefit is that travel on any Star Alliance member carrier counts towards achieving status in the selected FFP. One of the Star Alliance Gold membership benefits is lounge access; with TAM Airlines the number of designated Gold Lounges across the network has grown to more than 990.
Star Alliance says that through TAM Airlines, its service offering to the vast corporate market in Brazil (South America’s largest economy) has gained in value. “With TAM Airlines we now have a very comprehensive product in the local market and have expanded our reach for those needing to travel to Brazil and South America. This is an important selling point when dealing with large corporate customers in Brazil,” says Christopher Korenke, Star Alliance’s vice president commercial.
Additionally, flights operated by TAM Airlines will be included in both Star Alliance’s Conventions Plus and Meetings Plus products. Convention and meeting organizers based in South America can use the enlarged Star Alliance network to contract their travel requirements; and organizers based in other parts of the world can now use Star Alliance to provide delegate transport from many additional destinations in South America.
As a result of TAM’s membership, Star Alliance’s Round the World Fare now offers numerous new travel combinations throughout Brazil and South America, as well as more flights between Brazil and Europe, and Brazil and the USA. TAM will also be selling Star’s North America and Europe Airpasses, allowing customers to purchase value-priced air travel on the Star Alliance network in these regions in combination with a long-haul ticket from Brazil.