Thursday, November 17, 2011

TAM 777-300 long haul fleet to receive all-new cabin

Brazil’s TAM Airlines will revamp its Boeing 777 aircraft by installing an all-new cabin configuration with the delivery of its fifth 777-300ER next year.

“We will get four new 777s in 2012, two in 2013 and two in 2014,” featuring new products in all classes, “including lie-flat seats in business class,” TAM president Libano Miranda Barroso told ATW on the sidelines of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Assn. (ALTA) conference in Rio de Janeiro. He did not confirm if TAM will also install a fourth class, premium economy section.

TAM offers first-, business- and economy-class on its long-haul 777 fleet, which will increase to 12 aircraft by 2014. “The aircraft will fly on North American and European routes. Our A330 fleet will also be featured with the new product,” TAM holding group CEO Marco Antonia Bologna said, noting that the airline needs to improve its brand.

Barroso saidthe airline must strengthen its visibility in the market, and that membership in an alliance will “help to improve our brand outside Latin America.”

TAM has approximately 30 aircraft on order, scheduled for delivery through 2022. “In 2016 we expect the first A320neo delivery—the A350, beyond 2015,” Barroso said, noting that a six-month delay should have no impact for the carrier. “The A350 is still in our [time delivery] plan,” he said. Bologna doesn’t believe that very large aircraft, such as the 747-8 or A380, have a market in Brazil. “There is no consideration of this type of aircraft,” he said.

The company reiterated last month it is still on track to close the merger with LAN Airlines by the 2012 first quarter.

(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

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