International Airlines Group (IAG) has signed a joint agreement between its subsidiaries British Airways and Iberia and LATAM Airlines Group to make flights between Europe and South America easier.
If they receive regulatory approval, the airlines plan to expand their codeshare agreements, which allow airlines to operate flights on another airline's routes. It allows firms to offer better connections, with a single check-in and one bag transfer.
The airlines also said it will give customers more opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles as well as reciprocal airport lounge access.
The companies expect it to take 12 to 18 months to receive regulators approval in the EU and South America.
"We already have a close commercial relationship with LATAM Airlines Group as part of oneworld and we look forward to enhancing the relationship further. This joint business would benefit customers by providing them with easier journeys to more destinations with better aligned schedules and increased frequencies. This would boost both tourism and business travel between South America and Europe,” said IAG chief exec Willie Walsh.
Enrique Cueto, chief executive of LATAM Airline's Group, said: "This agreement would significantly improve connectivity bringing Europe closer to our region by providing a wider choice of flights and great benefits to our customers. This step is key to ensuring we offer the best network to our customers and increase the options to add new destinations to LATAM and its affiliates’ networks."