Latin Trade recently interviewed TAM's Investor Relations Manager Jorge Helito about the recent accomplishments of Brazil's largest airline.
LT: What does TAM's new membership in the Star Alliance, the world's largest commercial aviation partnership, mean for your customers?
TAM: Joining the Star Alliance helps TAM consolidate our position as the Brazilian flagship carrier. We are extending the destinations we offer in partnership with other Star Alliance airlines, connecting the most remote cities of Brazil with major global destinations such as Beijing. With the completion of the Alliance membership process, TAM is sharing products and services from 26 other leading airlines serving more than 1,000 destinations in the 175 countries. The long list of benefits for our customers includes final destination check-in, more agile connections and the comfort of 980 VIP lounges.
LT: Can TAM customers take advantage of other Alliance members' frequent flyer/mileage programs?
TAM: Yes. Our customers will be automatically integrated into the frequent flyer/ loyalty programs of all 27 Alliance carriers, gaining and redeeming points or miles from any of the members.
LT: What are the top three reasons for a business traveler to choose TAM?
TAM: Our comprehensive network of destinations, competitive prices and loyalty program.
LT: Please comment on TAM's modern fleet and outstanding safety record.
TAM: TAM has one of the world's largest and most modern commercial aviation fleets: 135 aircraft with a average lifetime of 6 years. Since our founding in 1976, flight safety has always been TAM's top priority and we are the first Brazilian airline with an International Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification granted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Our Flight Safety department is fully independent and reports to the presidency directly, in accordance with the highest governance standards. In addition, Brazilian, American and European aeronautical authorities have certified our Technological Center to provide MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) services to our fleet and third-party aircraft.
LT: Do you have any plans to add new destinations in 2010?
TAM: We expect the Brazilian civil aviation market to grow 14 to 18...