Lan Chile after Lafsa; Second strip for Santiago airport; Santiago, second city for making business.
Lan Chile after Lafsa
Lan Chile is interested in an association agreement with the recently created and Argentine government owned Lineas Aereas Federales, Lafsa, which still has no aircraft of its own. Apparently and according to the Buenos Aires press Lan Chile is offering between six and ten aircrafts in exchange for a share of Lafsa and a quick privatization process. Lafas currently flies with planes leased from a private Argentine airline South Winds, but the contract expires October 2004. Lafsa was originally created with the staff from two failed private companies, Lapa and Dinar, and with the purpose of creating a competition for privatized Aerolineas Argentinas that has 80% of Argentina's domestic market. The Lafsa-South Wind strategic coordination also avoided South Wind from going down. Sources from the Argentine Secretary of Transport confirmed that last week a high level Lan Chile delegation officially made a proposal adding that the issue was under "serious consideration". In Santiago as usual Lan Chile Public Affairs office said "no comments", but added that "Lan Chile is always in the lookout for opportunities in the Argentine air travel market". Apparently Lan Chile would supply aircrafts in exchange for the majority of shares in a privatized Lafsa. Lan Chile in two past occasions, 1998 and 2001, tried to become an associate of Aerolineas, however both attempts did not progress and the Argentine flag carrier now belongs to a second Spanish group, a tourism organization. When Aerolineas was first privatized it was acquired by Spanish government owned Iberia airlines. However Iberia proved equally inefficient in managing Aerolineas and after long discussions with the Argentine government ended selling its majority share.
Second strip for Santiago airport. Chile's main airport will have a second air strip in early 2005, following the awarding of the 45 million US dollars contract to a Chilean private company. "All pre-qualified companies participated in the bid and having confirmed the technical specifications the winning company can now begin working this December", said Mr. David Guzmán, Chile's Director of airports. The new air strip, similar to the current one: 3,800 by 45 meters, is expected to increase the airport's operating capacity by 30%. Besides a net work of support links will be built to facilitate access to the new strip both from the south and north. Pluvial and water drainage systems will be established to ensure no flooding and a quick evacuation to near by Mapocho river. According to the Chilean press, the airport improvement is part of the Bicentennial Project for the Metropolitan area and will convert Arturo Merino Benítez air terminal into the third with two main air strips in the Southern Cone region. Chile celebrates its bicentennial in 2010.
Santiago, second city for making business Santiago de Chile figures only behind Sao Paulo and Rio do Janeiro, and ahead of Buenos Aires and Bogotá, among cities which most attract business delegations in Latinamerica. Chilean government sponsored organizations such as the Tourist Office, Sernatur, Tourist Promotion Corporation, CPT and the Chile Convention Bureau, CCB, are mostly involved in the successful drive that every year attracts dozens of delegations interested in making business in Chile. "This year we had 23 international events, 27% more than in 2002 with a participation of 24,000 delegates, each of them spending an average 2,000 US dollars", indicated Oscar Santelices, head of Sernatur. "Possibly our greatest challenge this year was the World Gynaecology and Obstetrician Congress that attracted thousands of doctors and experts from all over the globe, and it was a full success", said Mr. Santelices. The world business tourist industry represents 280 billion US dollars annually, most of events concentrated in the European Union and the United States.