TAM

LATAM Discontinues Flights Between The US & Canada

LATAM

LATAM Brazil (formerly just known as TAM) operates a pretty cool fifth freedom flight between New York JFK and Toronto. The flight operates twice weekly (Wednesdays and Fridays) with the following schedule:

JJ8102 New York to Toronto departing 11:10AM arriving 12:55PM
JJ8103 Toronto to New York departing 3:50PM arriving 5:45PM

The plane originates in Sao Paulo, and as is the norm for most flights between Brazil and the US, it arrives in the US in the morning and returns back to Brazil at night. Given that the flight has 14+ hours of downtime, they operate a flight to Toronto during that time, allowing them to serve another destination and also get (slightly) better aircraft utilization.

Perhaps what I like most about this flight is what a great value it represents. Business class fares on this route are consistently -$90 one-way, which is pretty incredible. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of any market in North America with cheaper business class fares than that.

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Qatar Airways Buying A 10% Stake In LATAM

LAN-Business-Class-787 - 68

It seems to be increasingly common for the Gulf carriers to buy stakes in foreign airlines. For example, Etihad owns a stake in several airlines, including airberlin, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, etc. Meanwhile last year Qatar Airways bought a 9.99% stake in IAG, the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. Earlier in the year they announced that they’d be increasing that stake to 15%.

I suspect the motivation for Gulf carriers investing in foreign airlines is primarily twofold:

— The Gulf countries are looking for ways to diversify their assets and develop economies that are sustainable long term, long after oil runs out (decreased oil revenue is already impacting Gulf countries); the Gulf countries, much like China, like to invest abroad
— The Gulf carriers are constantly fighting political battles when expanding, given how many foreign airlines selectively don’t want to compete with government owned/subsidized airlines in the Gulf; by buying stakes in other carriers, the Gulf carriers are increasing their soft political power

With that in mind, Qatar Airways has just announced their newest major investment. Qatar Airways will buy a 10% stake in LATAM, a deal valued at $613 million.

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TAM A350 Will Fly To New York & Orlando Starting In July 2016

TAM-A350

TAM is the Brazil-based oneworld airline, and has the most extensive route network to/from/within Brazil. I had the chance to fly them a couple of years back in first class from Sao Paulo to New York, which I quite enjoyed. In the meantime TAM has eliminated first class in favor of a better business class product.

One cool thing about TAM is that they’re the first airline in Latin America to take delivery of the Airbus A350, which they’ll soon begin operating on regional routes, and then to Madrid. TAM has also just announced that they will launch A350 flights to the US as of July 2016.

The following TAM flights will be operated by an Airbus A350 as of July 22, 2016:

JJ8080 Sao Paulo to New York departing 11:30PM arriving 8:10AM (+1 day)
JJ8081 New York to Sao Paulo departing 7:30PM arriving 6:25AM (+1 day)

JJ8086 Sao Paulo to Orlando departing 9:05AM arriving 5:00PM
JJ8087 Orlando to Sao Paulo departing 8:25PM arriving 6:10AM (+1 day)

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TAM Ending First Class On New York Route Early

TAM-New-First-Class

TAM was historically one of the few airlines which never released first class award space. Then in early February, out of nowhere, they went from releasing no space to making virtually every first class seat available on miles. At first I assumed it was a mistake, though they continued to release the space, so presumably it wasn’t.

I guess we really got our explanation in late April, when TAM announced that they’d be eliminating first class in favor of an improved business class product. At the time they announced they’d discontinue first class service as of November 1, 2014.

That meant those of us in the US had until November 1, 2014, to hop on one of their flights to Sao Paulo out of Miami or New York, which have been operated by their 777-300ER aircraft and featured the new first class product.

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