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MADRID: January 15, 2016. International Airlines Group (IAG) has agreed to expand its relationship with the LATAM Group to develop more commercial links between British Airways, Iberia, LAN and TAM on flights between Europe and South America.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval in both South America and the EU and is expected to take 12-18 months according to IAG.

BA TAMThe airline group, that also includes Aer Lingus and Vueling, said the carriers would expand their codeshare arrangements on flights between and within Europe and South America to provide customers with a combined route network of over 180 destinations in the two regions.

By working together the airlines expect to enhance customer choice via integrated networks, new non-stop routes, additional frequencies on existing routes and combined pricing, said IAG.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive commented: “We already have a close commercial relationship with LATAM Airlines Group as part of oneworld and we look forward to enhancing the relationship further.”

Enrique Cueto, LATAM Airlines group chief executive added: “This is excellent news for Latin America. This agreement would significantly improve connectivity, bringing Europe closer to our region by providing a wider choice of flights and great benefits to our customers. This step is key to ensuring we offer the best network to our customers and increase the options to add new destinations to LATAM and its affiliates’ networks.”

The LATAM Group reported continued weak cargo traffic in December especially in Brazil domestic and international markets. "Additionally, weaker seasonal exports from Latin America contributed to the softness in demand," said the group. As a result, cargo traffic fell 11.2 percent in the month compared to 2014 and the overall cargo load factor dropped 6.1 points to 54.1 percent. LATAM said it reduced available capacity 1.3 percent last month through a reduced freighter operation.

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