New VIP Lounge in Neighbouring Santiago

LATAM Santiago 1LAN and TAM Airlines have opened new VIP Lounge in Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago, Chile. The new lounge is thought to be the largest in South America , offering a sleeping area, showers and entertainment rooms as well as areas serving food and beverages.

With a design inspired – like the LATAM lounge in São Paulo – by South American culture and natural heritage, the lounge features natural materials, such as marble, onyx and leather, with colours and details that represent the region.

The new lounge is located on the 4th and 5th floors of the western sector of Santiago’s international airport, with direct access from the LAN and TAM check-in area.

LATAM Santiago 4Like the lounge in São Paulo, the new Santiago lounge is available to all clients travelling in Premium Business on LAN, TAM or any oneWorld alliance airline, and those traveling in LAN’s Premium Economy class. Members of the top categories in the LANPASS loyalty program (Black, Comodoro, Premium Silver), TAM Fidelidade (Black, Vermelho Plus, Vermelho) and respective oneWorld categories (Emerald, Sapphire) can also enjoy the lounge space. Members of the LAN and TAM Black, Emerald and Sapphire categories along with oneworld and World Member clients have the right to bring a guest.

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LATAM opens its new airport lounge in São Paulo

15455946609_6b2c783ca2_zThe LATAM Airline Group has opened its new VIP lounge at the new Terminal 3 in São Paulo International Airport in Guarulhos. The lounge is for passengers flying with TAM or LAN in business or first, as well as passengers flying on oneworld alliance members that include British Airways, American, and Iberia.

The lounge covers an area of 1.800 m², and can accommodate 450 passengers at any one time. It operates daily from 05.00 to midnight.

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More airlines move into Terminal 3 at São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 12.04.41Opened in May 2014, the new Terminal 3 at São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport continues to expand. During August 2014 four more airlines moved to the new terminal. These included Air France, British Airways, KLM, and Iberia. They join Air Canada, Alitalia, China Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Qatar, Singapore Airlines, Swiss Airlines, TAP, Turkish and United, that have already moved their operations to the new terminal. The main Brazilian carrier, TAM, will move later in the year by which time 80% of the airport’s international flights will be using the terminal.

A number of new shops and restaurants have also opened including landside the first Brazilian branch of Red Lobster which is located in the hallway that links Terminal 3 and 2. Other food options include Garrets, Carl’s Jr., Jimmy’s Buffet Margaritaville Ráscal, Viena Snacks, Desfruti, Olive Garden, Piola Piola and Casa Bauduco.

Stores include the bookshop Saraiva, FNAC, and airside, along GRU Avenue, can be found Amsterdam Sauer, Kate Spade, Lacoste, Track & Field, Coach, Burberry, Emporio Armani and Victoria’s Secret.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 12.04.58Star Alliance has also opened its new Lounge. About 1,350 square meters in size, the lounge can accommodate up to 295 guests and is open daily from 12.00 noon to 03.00. Access is for passengers traveling on Star Alliance member airlines from Guarulhos in First or Business Class or holding Star Alliance Gold Status. The lounge is located on the mezzanine level, overlooking the atrium and the airport apron beyond, and can easily be reached by escalators or elevators.

In line with the new Star Alliance lounge concept, local touches and flavours have been combined with global branding elements. This has allowed for the creation of a very Brazilian look and feel, reflecting a strong artesian heritage. The use of wood, rope, natural fibers and typical ceramic finishing bring coziness to a sophisticated interior and provides a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere to customers.

The lounge was developed and is operated by In Flight Solutions Brasil on behalf of the Star Alliance. For those wishing to work, free Wi-Fi access is provided throughout the lounge, with convenient power and USB outlets available. A dedicated business center and free Wi-Fi printing is also provided.

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British Airways increases flights from London to São Paulo

British_Airways_Boeing_747-400_leaving_townBritish Airways is to increase its direct weekly services to-and-from London’s Heathrow Airport and São Paulo on 1 June 2014 from seven to ten using 747-400s (photo). British Airways also offers a daily service between London and Rio de Janeiro.

The other airline offering direct non-stop service between London and São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is TAM Airlines from Brazil.

As of 1 April 2014 both airlines will be members of oneWorld.

TAM Airlines to join oneworld alliance in 2014

Bruce Ashby, CEO oneworld; Tom Horton, President oneworld; Ignacio Cueto, CEO LAN Airlines and Damián Scokin, CEO LATAM International.

Bruce Ashby, CEO oneworld; Tom Horton, President oneworld; Ignacio Cueto, CEO LAN Airlines and Damián Scokin, CEO LATAM International.

LATAM Airlines Group has chosen oneworld to be its global alliance for all its airlines. With this decision – announced on 7 March at a oneworld meeting in Hong Kong – TAM Airlines will now become a member of oneworld, joining LAN Airlines and 11 other member airlines, including British Airways.

TAM will withdraw from the Star Alliance during the second quarter of 2014, on a date to be announced later in 2013. The airline plans to officially join oneworld as soon as it leaves Star Alliance. From that date, TAM passengers will be able to accumulate kilometres/points by flying on any oneworld member airline. Until then, they will continue to receive the benefits offered by the Star Alliance.

“We have evaluated all the existing possibilities and chose the alliance that offers the best benefits to our passengers, in addition to the best connectivity and products, as well as the greatest synergies for the LATAM Airlines Group. We are very happy with our decision,” says Enrique Cueto, CEO, LATAM Airlines Group. “With the incorporation of the LATAM Airlines Group in to oneworld, passengers flying with us will be able to book trips through the oneworld network of destinations and connect from any of the 950 destinations.”

TAM Airlines and TAM S.A. CEO Marco Antonio Bologna adds that the decision to join oneworld “is important news for TAM passengers and we are focused on ensuring a smooth transition to the company, for our partners, and, most importantly, our clients”. According to Bologna, TAM “is joining a growing alliance, that is able to offer the best connection options to our passengers.”

oneworld’s CEO, Bruce Ashby, said: “We are delighted that, after its comprehensive review of alliance options, LATAM not only decided to have LAN remain on board oneworld, but also to include TAM and all the other passenger airline subsidiaries in the LATAM group as well. This solidifies oneworld’s long-standing position as the alliance leader in Latin America and provides an even more attractive proposition for frequent international travellers the world over. We look forward to working with LATAM to ensure a smooth transition to oneworld.”

Currently, oneworld members include airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, as well as 30 affiliates. SriLankan Airlines and Qatar Airways are in the process of joining the alliance.

During the event in Hong Kong on 7 March, the executives also announced the entry of LAN Colombia in to oneworld as an affiliate member. This will also occur during the fourth quarter of 2013, when it will join other LAN affiliate airlines LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru, reaffirming LAN’s 13-year membership in oneworld.

TAM Airlines wins another award for its wines

TAM executive class wines

TAM executive class wines

TAM Airlines has won another of the top categories in Business Traveller’s prestigious “Cellars in the Sky”; awards that recognise airlines for the quality of the wines served on board their aircraft. The Brazilian company has received the award for the best red wine served in Business Class during 2012. The wine in question is Château Bel-Air-Ouÿ, 2007, a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru produced in Bordeaux (France). The winning wine is produced for TAM by one of France’s most respected winemakers, Jean-Luc Thunevin.

In February 2012 TAM won awards at “Cellars in the Sky” for the best red wine served in First Class, Clos Canon 2008, and also took the award as the airline with the most improved First Class wine cellar. In 2009 TAM was chosen by “Cellars in the Sky” to serve the best white wine in First Class with Michel Picard Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Les Chalumeaux” (2006).

Business Traveller, one of the world’s leading and most influential magazines targeted at the global business traveller, has annually organized the “Cellars in the Sky” awards since 1985. For eight months, a panel of five leading experts will have blind tasted over 250 wines served in the First Class and Business Class of the world’s leading airlines. To choose the winners the four independent judges considered that at altitude it is the elegance and subtlety of wines, and the delicate balance between acidity and alcohol, that is important.

TAM unveils new First Class cabin and Sao Paulo lounge

TAM First Class 2012 01

Brazil’s TAM Airlines new Boeing 777s are the first to feature a new interior design and cabin developed exclusively for the airline by the British company, Priestmangoode.

The new First Class cabin presents the idea of a living room. The environment is personalised, providing more privacy and interaction with the new sleeper seat, entertainment system, and lighting. There is also a couch, individual closets, lamp, dining table, cushions, a Nespresso service, and a library with books, editions of Wallpaper guidebooks as well as general interest magazines.

TAM First Class 2012 03

TAM Airlines has also inaugurated its third VIP lounge in São Paulo’s International Airport (Guarulhos). The new space is located in Terminal 2.

Covering 540 square meters and with capacity of 174 seats, the room is decorated with furniture, materials, textures and colours that evoke the comforts of a house in a concept called “From Home to Home”. It also offers Wi-Fi, snacks, beverages, two TV lounges, a business centre, shower room, and a family area with computers for children.

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Las Iguanas launch Rio Botequims for the London Olympics

Las Iguanas, already established as the UK’s leading collection of Latin American restaurants and bars, is bringing an extra touch of the tastes and spirit of Rio de Janeiro to Britain to brighten up the summer of 2102.

As of 27 July, and in time for the London Olympics, Rio Botequims have been popping up all over the UK in Las Iguanas restaurants in partnership with the Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau, Riotur, TAM Airlines and others.

The choice of Las Iguanas to feature Rio de Janeiro – the world’s most glamorous and exciting tropical city – is no accident as it is Rio that in 2016 will be the next city to host the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games after London.

And before 2016, Brazil and Rio will also be hosting the Confederations Cup in 2013, along with the Judo World Championship and the Canoe Sprint World Championships. Then in June and July 2014, the eyes of world will be on Brazil and Rio for the 20th FIFA World Cup.

So there has never been a better time in Britain to get in step, find the Carioca rhythm, and learn a little bit more about Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, and the tastes and spirit that help the city and country tick.

So how do you describe what a botequim (“bo-teh-king”) is to the British?

It is far too simple to suggest that a botequim is the Brazilian equivalent of the British pub, but it is a legitimate heir to the old taverns, serving food in healthy portions at accessible prices. Botequims are part of the cultural identity of Rio de Janeiro, and developed from the Spanish bodega and Portuguese botica to emerge as the Brazilian boteco – or botequim – in the second half of the 19th century.

A botequim is essentially a place to eat, drink and be merry. A place for friendly and lively conversation, good company, tasty and interesting food, and drinks that range from coffee to caipirinhas, via a cerveja gelada, or an ice-cold Brahma beer. A botequim is also a state of mind.

In the spirit of the Rio botequims, Las Iguanas is inviting its customers across the UK to come and enjoy the tastes and spirit of Rio this summer, and discover how to be a Carioca, as the residents of Rio are known.

As well as offering customers in all its restaurants the opportunity to try a special menu – Rio Botequim Seleção – Las Iguanas, the Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau, and their partners are also staging a number of culinary, cultural and sporting activities over the period of the Olympics, especially in London at the Royal Festival Hall, O2, Spitalfields, and Stratford Westfields restaurants.

Wednesday, 1 August, will see a gathering of the UK travel trade and media for lunch at the “Rio Botequim” in the Las Iguanas Royal Festival Hall, while the same venue will also host a reception for the UK film industry on Thursday, 2 August.

There is also the opportunity in all the Las Iguanas restaurants for customers to win trips to Rio de Janeiro to discover the city, and enjoy its warmth, hospitality and beauty, as well as the city’s many botequims, restaurants, clubs and bars, and the beach.

And just as the success of the Brazilian football team has always been built on teamwork, so will the success of the Rio Botequim programme. Joining the Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau and Las Iguanas are Riotur, the Secretary of Sport for Rio, Rio Film Commission, Sport TV and TAM Airlines, among others. Together the partners are all looking and planning to help make it a “Carioca” summer for Britain to remember.

For more details of what is happening at the Rio Botequims and in Las Iguanas over the Olympic period, visit the Las Iguanas web site, www.iguanas.co.uk; follow on Twitter (@las_Iguanas or @RioDiary) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Las-Iguanas/48003656683).

TAM Airlines named “Best Airline in South America”

For the second consecutive year, TAM Airlines has been named the winner of two major categories at the Skytrax “World Airline Awards”. TAM was named “Best Airline in South America” and “Best Airline Staff in South America”. The 2012 awards were announced on 12 July by Skytrax during the Farnborough International Airshow.

TAM, winner of Skytrax best airline and best staff service in South America

Manoela Amaro, TAM’s marketing director, acknowledged the recognition of its passengers and stressed the importance of the award to the airline: “Repeating the feat for a second year in a survey as important as that undertaken by Skytrax, involving more than 18 million passengers from over one hundred and fifty countries, and involving more than 200 airlines, is proof that TAM is on the right track, and continues to work to offer an unforgettable travel experience to its customers.”

Azul was named “Best Low-cost Airline in South America” and Trip was named “Best Regional Airline in South America”, giving Brazil a clean sweep in the South American categories.

On the global stage, Qatar was named Airline of the Year.

The top ten Skytrax airlines for 2012 are:

1 Qatar Airways
2 Asiana Airlines
3 Singapore Airlines
4 Cathay Pacific
5 A N A
6 Etihad Airways
7 Turkish Airlines
8 Emirates
9 Thai Airways
10 Malaysia Airlines

TAM and LAN merge to form LATAM Airlines Group

Brazil’s TAM airlines and Chile’s LAN Airlines have merged to form the LATAM Airlines Group. The new group offers passengers more flights to more destinations than any other affiliated group of airlines in South America, initially reaching around 150 destinations in 22 countries and transporting cargo to 169 destinations in 27 countries.

“The creation of this group of airlines is an opportunity to take South America to the world and to allow us to position ourselves to operate in an increasingly competitive environment due to the continuing consolidation of the global airline industry,” said Enrique Cueto, Executive Vice President-CEO of LATAM Airlines Group.

Among the benefits that passengers of both TAM and LAN will see over time are increased connectivity, improved routes and frequencies, and reduced connection times. Additionally members of the airlines’ frequent flyer programs, LANPASS and TAM Fidelidade, will be able to earn and redeem kilometres/points over the complete route networks of LAN and TAM.