- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Copa Airlines
- LAN Airlines
- TAM Airlines
- LAN Peru
NB: Airlines in Latin America provide relatively few flights beyond their home continent. They may therefore not always provide their service information in languages other than Spanish and Portuguese. For professional assistance in making enquiries and bookings, please feel free to contact us.
Airlines in South America service a busy domestic and regional market and also provide flights to other continents, mainly the USA. There are a few flight routes to Europe, mainly to Spain. Coverage of routes to other continents is rare and is not done by any of the airlines, with the exception of LAN Airlines, which provides flights to Australasia. Code-share agreements are also very sparse, and most of the airlines in South America don’t have them with any major international airline. Very few long-haul international flights are provided by these airlines directly. The public air travel industry in Latin America is therefore highly localized. However, since they cater mainly to their domestic and/or regional markets and they provide each other with substantial competition, ticket prices may be more affordable.
Air travel in South America has a long history and a couple of the airlines have been in business for more than 80 years, making them among the oldest in the world. These airlines also have few safety incidents on their track records.
There are four airlines in Latin America which are traded on the New York Stock Exchange:
- Copa Airlines (Panama)
- LAN Airlines (Chile)
- GOL (Brazil)
- TAM Airlines (Brazil)
Airlines in South America have recently embarked on enormous fleet expansion drives. The Avianca-TACA carrier group has ordered 161 Airbus A320 aircraft, which should have been delivered by 2020, while both LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines have about 180 of the same aircraft on order between them. This amounts to nearly 350 more planes in the skies. By 2020, there will be approximately 500 Airbus A320 aircraft in service in this region of the world.
The A320 is not a surprising choice for airlines in South America for two main reasons. Firstly, the domestic and regional flights are within the range of this model, as are many of the international flights to the USA or the Caribbean. These airlines don’t need many wide-bodied long-haul aircraft to service their route networks. The second reason is that airports in South America do not always have the infrastructural capacity to accommodate the largest Airbus plane – the Airbus A380. Although passenger numbers would perhaps justify using the A380 in the daily flights to Europe (where the A330 is in use at present), the outlay on airport infrastructure that its use would require is a discouraging factor in assessing its suitability.
However, another major airline in Latin America, GOL, has placed an order with Boeing for more than 100 737-800s. This is interesting because it pits the two rival aircraft manufacturers against each other on the same continent, sometimes in the same domestic market. The performance of these two makes and models of aircraft, which are similar in design and passenger capacity, can therefore be compared to a certain degree over the next decade of their operation by these airlines, since they will be used on the same routes and by the same target market. Also, they will be deployed in relatively high numbers, so the comparison should be more reliable. Marketing efforts by the airlines could even use the make of aircraft as a component if public opinion sways in the direction of either manufacturer. This type of adverse or conciliatory public sentiment is always a risk when an airline dedicates most or all of its fleet composition to one make of aircraft.
Although the Embraer jet company has its manufacturing operation in Brazil, the Embraer planes are not used in large numbers by these Latin American airlines.