June 2 (Reuters) - Brazil’s biggest airline, the TAM unit of LATAM Airlines Group SA plans to order 20 regional jets by the end of the year, expanding into smaller, fast-growing routes in a push that could benefit domestic planemaker Embraer SA.
TAM Chief Executive Marco Antonio Bologna announced the airline’s regional aviation plans at an industry event in Doha, the company’s press office said on Monday.
In September, TAM President Claudia Sender said the airline was deciding between Embraer jets and turboprop planes made by ATR to expand its fleet, taking advantage of the government’s regional aviation incentives.
Brazil’s third-largest airline, Azul Linhas Aereas, is the only domestic carrier operating Embraer’s regional E-Jets, expanding routes at a time when TAM and No.2 airline Gol Linhas Aereas SA are cutting back due to weak demand.
Embraer shares rose 0.8 percent in Sao Paulo trading, as LATAM lost 1.2 percent in Santiago. (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Writing by Brad Haynes; Editing by Grant McCool)