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KLM expands Latin American presence

By Hpanchal on November 2, 2011

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has added four Latin American destinations to its flight network: Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Havana and Punta Cana. The inclusion of these routes brings the total number of KLM flights to Central America and South America to 24 and 28, respectively.

KLM will fly to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Havana and Punta Cana from its hub at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. A KLM spokesman said this will boost capacity to these cities tremendously, as partner airline Air France already serves these markets from its Paris hub.

“With our dual-hub strategy through Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle, the schedules of Air France and KLM are seamlessly connected,” the spokesman stated.

KLM and Air France aren’t the only entities eying Latin America as a key region of growth, however. Boeing officials have projected that Latin America will emerge as an aviation hotspot in the coming decades, with Brazil as the biggest contributor to this phenomenon.

“From 2009 to 2029, the Brazil-North American air cargo market is forecasted to grow at an average annual rate of 6.8 percent, and the Brazil-Europe air cargo market is forecasted to grow at an average annual rate of 6.9 percent,” Russell Tom, regional director of air cargo marketing for Boeing, told Air Cargo World.

This is slightly higher than overall Latin American-North American and Latin American-European growth projections, which anticipate a 5.8-percent increase in airfreight annually.

What’s more, Boeing officials have estimated that Latin American carriers will have a demand for 2,180 new aircraft over the next two decades, outpacing the rest of the world in terms of aviation growth. Representatives for the airline manufacturer also maintained that Latin American air travel will increase 6.9 percent over the next two decades, spurred by a yearly economic growth rate of approximately 4 percent.

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