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 LANLogo.jpg

Founded 1933

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LAN Airlines S.A. is a group of South American Airlines based in Santiago, Chile, and part of LATAM Airlines Group, Latin America's largest Airline holding company. LATAM was formed by the takeover by LAN of Brazilian TAM Airlines which was completed on June 22, 2012, although both companies operate with different certificates and liveries.[1] Its headquarters is located in Las Condes, Santiago Province.

LAN Airlines is the flag carrier of Chile, the predominant airline in Chile and Perú, and the second largest carrier in Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador, through its local subsidiaries. LAN is one of the largest airlines in Latin America, serving Latin America, North America, the Caribbean, Oceania, and Europe. The carrier has been a member of the Oneworld airline alliance since 2000. It is the 49th oldest air carrier in the world from its foundation date, and the 10th oldest airline in operation today. Its main hub is located at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago.

DH 60G Gipsy Moths in service with LAN-Chile, 1933
The airline was founded by Chilean Air Force Commodore Arturo Merino Benitez (After whom Santiago International Airport is named), and began operations on March 5, 1929 as Línea Aeropostal Santiago-Arica (English: Postal Air Line Santiago-Arica), under the government of President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. In 1932 It was rebranded as Línea Aérea Nacional de Chile (In English: National Air Line of Chile), using the acronym LAN-Chile as commercial name. LAN-Chile's first fleet consisted of de Havilland Moth planes.[2]

Merino Benitez was a strong defender of Chilean carriers exclusivity on domestic routes, differing from most Latin American countries which easily granted authorization on domestic flights to US-based Panagra, influenced by the propaganda made by Charles Lindbergh's Atlantic crossing.[3] Also because of this reason, US-built airplanes became more difficult to incorporate to LAN's fleet until the beginning of WWII. In 1936, 2 French Potez 56 airplanes were purchased while in 1938, 4 German Junkers Ju 86 were incorporated to the fleet. During that same year, a joint cooperation agreement was established with Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano and the Peruvian carrier Faucett. Another agreement with Lufthansa was signed for flights to & from Europe and America's Atlantic coast. [3]


LAN-Chile Douglas DC-3 added to the fleet in 1945
In 1940, given the restrictions imposed during WWII on access to spare parts for the Junker's BMW engines, LAN-Chile had to replace them for Lockheed Electra A-10 planes, adding in 1941 further Lockheed Lodestar C-60 and Douglas DC-3 in 1945.

Post-War and international service expansion[edit]
On August 23, 1945, LAN-Chile became a member of the newly formed IATA. In October 1946, it started international service to Buenos Aires at Morón Airport and in 1947 to Punta Arenas, Chile's most distant continental destination.[4]

In December 1954, LAN-Chile made its first commercial flight to Lima, Perú. On December 22, 1956 a LAN-Chile Douglas DC-6 made the world's first commercial flight over Antarctica. Since then, all LAN's DC-6 fleet had painted on their fuselage "Primeros sobre la Antártica (First over Antarctica)", using this same aircraft type for its first commercial service to Miami International Airport in 1958.[5]

LAN-Chile entered the jet era in 1963, purchasing three French Sud Aviation Caravelle VI-R, which initially flew to Miami, Guayaquil, Lima, Panama City and within Chile to Punta Arenas, Puerto Montt and Antofagasta.[6]


A LAN-Chile Boeing 707 at Paris-Orly Airport in 1981
In 1966, LAN-Chile purchased from Lufthansa its first Boeing 707, in exchange for flying rights in the Lima-Santiago route. With this aircraft model, the company developed new long haul routes to the USA, Oceania and Europe. LAN-Chile started on April 15, 1967, the route Santiago-John F. Kennedy International Airport and Santiago-Easter Island on April 8. In October 1967 a LAN-Chile Sud Aviation Caravelle made the first ILS landing in South America at Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport.[7] On January 16, 1968, the Santiago-Easter Island flight was extended to Papeete-Faa'a International Airport, in Tahiti, French Polynesia. On September 4, 1974, this route was extended to Fiji.

In 1969, LAN-Chile expanded its destinations to Rio de Janeiro, Asunción and Cali with new Boeing 727s.[7] In 1970, with Boeing 707s LAN-Chile opened its first transatlantic routes to Madrid–Barajas Airport, Frankfurt Airport and Paris-Orly.

Since its inception and until 1970 the airline had its headquarters, main hub and maintenance center at Los Cerrillos Airport (ICAO: SCTI; IATA: ULC), in South-West Santiago.[8] The restrictions imposed by the growing metropolitan area of Santiago and the need for modern, jet-era airport facilities that could safely accommodate both domestic and intercontinental flights, drove the need to relocate the Chilean capital's principal airport from Los Cerrillos in the denser southwest metropolitan region of Santiago to the more rural northwest metropolitan area. For this reason, Santiago International Airport in Pudahuel was built between 1961 and 1967, fully moving LAN-Chile's flights to this new airport in 1970.


LAN Chile Boeing 727 at Pudahuel Airport Santiago in 1972
On February 10, 1974, A LAN Chile Boeing 707 made the world's first transpolar non-stop flight between South America (Punta Arenas Airport) and Australia (Sydney Kingsford-Smith Airport).[9]

In 1980, the company replaced its Boeing 727s with 737-200 Advanced on its domestic routes. In addition, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30, LAN Chile's first wide body jets, were added for use on routes to Los Angeles, Miami and New York. That same year, the maintenance facilitites were relocated from Los Cerrillos to Arturo Merino Benitez Airport.

In 1985, LAN-Chile implemented a program of flights around the world called Cruceros del Aire (“Air Cruises”), pioneers and unique in Latin America. The initial version included two flights per year (April 26 and September 26) on a Boeing 707 named Three Oceans because it crossed the Atlantic, Indian and South Pacific oceans, visiting 18 different places. The aircraft was specially prepared for these flights. It had 80 seats in first class, thus providing passengers with ample room for their comfort. Eighty tourists were selected for a 31-day tour that included visits to the main cities of Africa, Asia and Oceania. Such flights were made until 1989, marketed according to their route under various names such as "Around the World", "Three Oceans", "Three Continents," Mediterranean "," East-West China "etc.[10]


Lan Chile's Boeing 767 at Frankfurt (1994)
In June 1986, Boeing 767-200ERs replaced the DC-10 fleet, with a new route to Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. In 1988, LAN Chile started construction of its Maintenance Center at Santiago Airport and added a Boeing 747-100 on lease from Aer Lingus to its fleet during the summer season for its US flights.

Privatization and internationalization[edit]
In September 1989, the Chilean government privatized the carrier, selling a majority stake in the company to Icarosan and Scandinavian Airlines (49%), which subsequently sold its stake a few years later to local investors. Since 1994, major shareholders have been the Cueto Family and businessman Sebastián Piñera (Until 2010), who sold his shares when taking office as President of the Republic of Chile.

The approval from the Chilean Anti-Trust Authority resulted in the acquisition of the country's second largest airline Ladeco on August 11, 1995. In October 1998, Lan Chile merged its cargo subsidiary Fast Air with Ladeco, forming LAN Express.

In 1998 LAN Airlines established a joint venture with Lufthansa called LLTT (Lufthansa-LAN Technical Training S.A.) with the aim to satisfy the needs for aircraft maintenance training in Latin America. LLTT is based at LAN's hangars in Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez Airport.[11] LLTT is the only A320 Maintenance Simulator (CMOS) training provider in Latin America.[12]

In 2000, LAN Cargo opened up a major operations base at Miami International Airport and currently operates one of its largest cargo facilities there.

In 2002, LAN Chile started its internationalization process through LAN Perú and LAN Ecuador.

In March 2004, Lan Chile and its subsidiaries, LAN Perú, LAN Ecuador, LAN Dominicana and LAN Express, became unified under the unique LAN brand and livery, eliminating each airline country name on the brands. On June 17, 2004, LAN Chile changed its formal name to LAN Airlines (which was said to mean Latin American Network Airlines, even though the airline says LAN is no longer an acronym) as part of this re-branding and internationalization process; although, when founded in 1929, LAN originally ment "Línea Aérea Nacional" (National Airline).

In mid-2005, LAN opened its subsidiary LAN Argentina in Argentina and operates national and international flights from Buenos Aires, and is the third largest local operator behind Aerolíneas Argentinas and Austral. This subsidiary is also under the single LAN brand.

As of August 1, 2006, LAN Airlines merged first and business classes of service into a single class, named Premium Business.

On October 28, 2010, LAN acquired 98% ot the shares of AIRES, the second largest air carrier in Colombia. On December 3, 2011, AIRES started operating as LAN Colombia under the unified LAN livery.

LATAM Airlines Group[edit]
On August 13, 2010, LAN signed a non-binding agreement with Brazilian airline TAM Airlines to merge,[13] and form the LATAM Airlines Group.[14] The merger was completed on June 22, 2012.[1] The Administrative Council of Economic Defense of Brazil (“CADE”) and the Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia (Chilean Court at Law for Antitrust) (“TDLC”) approved the merger subject to mitigation measures. The airlines have to surrender four daily São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport slot pairs to other airlines willing to fly the Santiago-São Paulo route, to give up membership in either Star Alliance (of which TAM Airlines was a member) or Oneworld, and to interline deals with other airlines that operate selected routes, among other provisions. [15]

Corporate affairs[edit]

LAN Airlines Company headquarters in Las Condes, Santiago
The airline has its headquarters on the 20th floor of the 5711 Avenida Presidente Riesco Building in Las Condes, Santiago Province.[16] Previously its headquarters were in Estado 10 in downtown Santiago de Chile.[17]

 

LAN Airlines operates in 31 international, 17 domestic (Chile), 5 seasonal and 4 marketed destinations in 21 countries. When the airline takes delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner it will start flights to Washington D.C. and London-Heathrow. It is also considering starting flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Atlanta, Barcelona, Rome, Zurich, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong. With the delivery of more Airbus A319s, Airbus A320s and new deliveries of the Airbus A321, it will start new destinations in South America; it has considered Panama, San Jose de Costa Rica, Curitiba, Asunción, Manaos, Rosario, Cuzco and others.[citation needed]

A LAN Airlines Airbus A320-200.
LAN became the launch customer for the Pratt & Whitney PW6000 engine on the Airbus A318.[19] Its Airbus A319s and Airbus A320s are equipped with International Aero Engines V2500s. Lan Airlines has recently renovated its Boeing 767s, adding amenities like flat bed seats in Premium Business class, which offers 180 degrees of recline, and new touch screen personal TVs with on-demand content.[20]

In May 2008, LAN Airlines retired its last 737-200 from service; the 737-200 was replaced by the Airbus A318. In addition to its A320's family aircraft and Boeing 767 family, LAN will buy the new Boeing 787 for its long haul routes such as Auckland, Sydney and European routes, replacing its Airbus A340-300s. With this new aircraft it plans to open new routes like London-Heathrow and Rome-Fiumicino. In 2011, LAN ordered 10 A318s but has since sold these to Avianca Brasil, to purchase another 128 airliners from the A320 family and 1 more order of A340-300. LAN Airlines is the American launch customer for the Sharklets for its A320 fleet

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