Aires to become LAN Colombia, new routes expected next year

The executive director of Aires has said that the airline will change its name to LAN Colombia and begin offering new routes to Europe, South America and the U.S, newspaper El Espectador reported Friday

Executive Director Hernan Pasman hopes that next year Aires — which was bought five months ago by the Chile-based LAN Airlines — will begin to operate routes to European hubs such as Madrid, Paris, London, Milan and Frankfurt, as well as the U.S. cities of Los Angeles and Miami, but must first seek permission.

The company already has received permission to begin operating flights to New York, Caracas, Panama, and Sao Paolo.

The airline expects to obtain two new airplanes in 2011, and between three and six aircraft in 2012, which, according to Pasman, will help the company to obtain its objective.

Twenty million dollars has been invested in improving service and updating the fleet of aircraft in the past five months, despite the $100 million debt carried over from the previous owners.

Pasman wants LAN Colombia to take second place in the market by improving punctuality and service and prioritizing safety, while keeping ticket prices low. He also aims to increase passenger numbers by 20% from last year’s total of three million passengers.

The director reported a considerable drop in the number of complaints since the switch in ownership, which is a noteworthy achievement for the airline infamous for its delays.

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