Agreement opens competition over South American skies

RAPIDLY-expanding LAN Airlines (Chile) will face fresh competition on South American cargo routes thanks to an open skies agreement the US has signed with Colombia.

The air transport agreement will increase the number of passenger and cargo flights between the two countries and boost competition in the aviation market. It also aims to encourage vigorous price competition by airlines, while safeguarding aviation safety and security.

The deal will also increase the number of companies in the Colombian market by the end of 2012 and rally competition for carriers like Avianca Taca Holding, owner of Colombia’s biggest airline by sales.

Avianca Taca plans to use US$260 million raised from an initial public offering to help fend off expansion by LAN Airlines, which received two new 767 freighters between November and December 2010, boosting traffic figures.

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