17 Dec 2011

Airline merger approved

11:45 am on 17 December 2011

A merger of two major Latin American airlines has been approved, creating the largest carrier in the region.

The BBC reports the merger of TAM of Brazil with LAN of Chile was first proposed in 2010.

The new airline, LATAM, is valued at about $US14.5 billion.

Last year, TAM and LAN flew more than 45 million passengers and 754,777 tonnes of cargo.

The combined airline would fly to 115 destinations in 23 countries, with a 40,000-strong workforce.

TAM is a member of the Star Alliance group of airlines. LAN is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, which includes Iberia, British Airways, Qantas and JAL.

The airlines have not yet said which one they will join.