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Avianca Hopes a Stronger Partnership With United Will Help It Dominate Latin America
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Avianca Hopes a Stronger Partnership With United Will Help It Dominate Latin America

Avianca"™s strongest competitor, Latam Airlines, hasn"™t had the easiest time since 2012, when two proud national carriers "“ Argentina"™s LAN and Brazil"™s TAM "” closed their merger. But Latam is finally making money, and it"™s likely Latin America"™s leading carrier. Avianca has some work to do to keep pace.

Latin America"™s airline industry is moving toward having just two dominant players serving the region and the world. Avianca Holdings SA says it can be one of these, boosted by its alliance with United Continental Holdings Inc. and a merger with a Brazilian airline.

The carrier hopes to reach a commercial agreement this year with United, with the ultimate aim that passengers will be able to travel "seamlessly" between the two distinct airlines, Chief Executive Officer Hernan Rincon said Tuesday in an interview in New York. Meanwhile, due diligence regarding a potential merger with Avianca Brasil, a separate carrier run by Chairman German Efromovich"™s brother, is about 75 percent complete, he said.

"We believe only two will survive with operations everywhere in Latin America, and connecting it with the world, and we"™re building the company to be one of them," Rincon said, adding that Latam Airlines Group SA would probably be the other big player. "The benefits of the alliance are so strong for United and for Avianca that it is unlikely that we"™re going to let anything get in the way»…

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