Montevideo-Sao Paulo shuttle.
Transportes Aéreos Mercosur, TAM, a Brazilian airline inaugurated last weekend two daily flights to Sao Paulo from Montevideo. This means there will be a daily connection with the Sao Paulo hub of five flights, including the current three from the local Pluna-Varig, Uruguayan-Brazilian consortium. TAM's participation in the shuttle is also expected to have an impact in fares: the new airline is charging for a return ticket 245 US dollars, considerably less than the current 339 US dollars of Pluna-Varig. Last week also, Lan Chile inaugurated a second daily flight to Santiago given the increasing air movement between Uruguay and Chile.
LAN Chile expands
Lan Chile will be investing 200 million US dollars next year and according to market conditions could float an additional 120 million US dollars in equity. "We're in the middle of a renewal program and have plans to incorporate 27 Airbus to our 43 aircraft fleet in the coming next five years", said Lan Chile's vice-president Enrique Cueto. "During 2002 we're planning to invest 140 million US dollars in four new Airbus A 320, which will take our full year's investment to 200 million US dollars", indicated Mr. Cueto. Lan Chile is planning to replace its Boeing 737-200 and a few Boeing 767-300 with 20 new Airbus A 320 and 7 long range Airbus A 340. Lan Chile's assets are valued in 1,3 billion US dollars.
Cruise season begins in Montevideo.
Uruguay expects 100,000 visitors during the current cruise season which began officially last week with the arrival in Montevideo of the "Royal Princess" and its 1,200 passengers. Visitors were greeted with a flower as they came ashore and welcomed by officials from the Uruguayan Ministry of Tourism. A Navy band was on hand to play several tunes and local folklore groups put on "guacho" and tango shows. Uruguayan Tourism Minister Alfonso Varela estimated that by the end of the season next March the cruise industry will have benefited with 10 million US dollars, at a rate of 100 US dollar per visitor. Mr. Varela also pointed out that security conditions in the Old City and downtown Montevideo have improved considerably and s