Air Travel News
Briefs: JAL debuts Wi-Fi on U.S. routes; LAN/TAM complete merger
In news of international carriers, Japan Airlines this month will roll out its first in-flight Wi-Fi system on a key U.S. route; two Latin American airlines officially merge; and LOT drops one of its U.S. gateways.
• Japan Airlines will introduce its JAL SKY Wi-Fi service July 15 on a 777-300ER that flies the New York JFK-Tokyo Narita route. It will be offered on alternate days through early August; after that, it will be available daily. JAL said it expects to expand in-flight Wi-Fi to its Tokyo-Los Angeles and Tokyo-Chicago routes by October, and on flights to London, Paris and Frankfurt by next spring. Through September 30, first and business class passengers can sample the service at no cost for one hour. Regular rates are $11.95 for the first hour, or $21.95 for 24 hours.
• Brazilian carrier TAM and Chilean airline LAN have finally completed their merger under the name LATAM Airlines Group. The combined company will control more than 40 percent of the passenger market for Latin America. The two airlines are expected to continue operating as separate brands under a common holding company. However, government regulators in Chile conditioned their approval of the merger on the combined company only having an affiliation with one global airline alliance. Currently, LAN belongs to American Airlines’ Oneworld alliance, while TAM is a member of United’s Star Alliance. The trade journal Air Transport World is quoting a Star official as predicting that LATAM would leave Star and go with Oneworld.
• LOT Polish Airlines plans to end its service from Warsaw to Newark Liberty International Airport on October 29. That will leave LOT with service to two U.S. gateways – Chicago O’Hare, and New York Kennedy. At JFK, LOT will move from Terminal 4 to Terminal 1 on September 1. LOT recently entered into an interline agreement with JFK-based JetBlue.