LATAM has announced a new codeshare agreement with Finnair, promising to connect the very South of the Americas with the most northerly parts of Europe. The codeshare was implemented on Wednesday and will apply on routes between Helsinki and both São Paulo, Brazil and Santiago, Chile, via five European gateways from October 1st.
Codeshares make it so much easier for passengers to get where they want to go, even if their start and endpoint are pretty remote. As such, a codeshare that connects up the north of Europe with the southwest of South America has to be great news for globetrotters everywhere.
Soledad Berrios, Director of Strategic Alliances at LATAM Airlines Group commented on the new agreement in a press release carried by ATW Online,
“As part of our commitment to connecting Latin America with the world, this new agreement will offer our passengers easier access to the exciting destinations in Finland via Helsinki.”
Details of the codeshare
Under the new agreement, LATAM’s LA code will be added to Finnair flights between Helsinki and five strategic European hubs. Those are London, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris and Milan. In the other direction, Finnair’s code, AY, will be added to LATAM flights crossing the Atlantic from Santiago and São Paulo.
For Finnair, this agreement is a major milestone in expanding its global presence. The LATAM flights will be the first to be flow in South America sporting a Finnair code. Philip Lewin, Head of Partnerships and Alliances at Finnair commented to Business Traveler,
“We are excited to be able to offer these great new destinations for our customers. We also welcome LATAM customers to explore everything Helsinki and Finnair has to offer.”
LATAM Is undergoing some changes of its own, with a new incoming CEO imminent. The airline is investing heavily in updating its hard product on board too, with a massive cabin overhaul to the tune of $500m.
The codeshare was officially launched on Wednesday 11th September, but is only applicable on services on or after the 1st October.
Competition for South America
South America is fast becoming the must-have destination on every airline’s schedule. JetBlue recently added Georgetown, Guyana as its latest South American destination, making it the fourth South American country of service for the low cost carrier.
TAP Air Portugal has made known its plans to turn Lisbon into a stopover destination between Asia and South America, giving the growing Asian market a new means of getting to the continent. And low cost legend Norwegian Air Shuttle has already secured permission to operate flights between Spain and Peru, although current financial struggles may mean this is put on ice for the time being.
While much of this noise about South America is little more than just that – noise – one European carrier is firmly bedded in and ready to take the market by storm. Virgin Atlantic, who recently began flights with its new A350-1000, has a codeshare in place and a schedule firmed up to begin flying to Sao Paulo in March next year.
Along with the service launch, the UK airline has firmed up a codeshare of its own, in the form of a partnership with South American powerhouse GOL. From next year onwards, the VS code will make an appearance on 37 GOL operated flights, including to Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Recife.
While the LATAM Finnair tie up is exciting, and good news for both parties, it’s clear they are not alone in trying to snag the lion’s share of the South American market.