LATAM Airlines beefs up Lima hub, adds Africa route
SANTIAGO Oct 19 (Reuters) - LATAM Airlines, Latin America's largest airline, announced a swathe of new international routes on Monday, as it bolstered its hub in the Peruvian capital and promised a transatlantic route to Africa.
Santiago-based LATAM , which was formed in 2012 in a tie-up between Chile's LAN and Brazil's TAM, has been cutting back on capacity in the struggling domestic Brazilian market, where recession and currency headwinds have hurt its earnings.
But it has persisted in enhancing international long-haul and regional connections.
From mid-2016 its hub in Lima would carry a new route to Washington DC, while in December 2015 it will begin flights from Lima to Uruguayan capital Montevideo and mining center Antofagasta in Chile, the company said in a statement.
It said it was also waiting regulatory approval to begin flying from Sao Paulo in Brazil to Johannesburg in South Africa in 2016, which would make it the only Latin American airline to connect the two continents.
South-south flights are relatively rare, with South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines among the few airlines directly connecting Africa and South America.
LATAM also said it would adjust a number of Brazilian routes "to give priority to the most promising destinations in light of the economic scenario in the country." That would include cancelling its Belo Horizonte-Miami route and some changes in frequencies elsewhere, it added. (Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Christian Plumb)
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