Lan Airlines

LAN Airlines is a group of Chilean Airlines that operates out of Santiago De Chile, the capital. The airline is part of the LATAM Airlines group which is Latin America’s largest Airline holding company.

LATAM was formed by TAM Airlines of Brazil after it took over LAN Airlines in 2012. LAN Airlines is the flagship airline of Chile and the largest airline in Chile and Peru and along with its subsidiaries the second largest in Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador.

The Airline is part of the Oneworld alliance. It is the 10th oldest airline in operation in the world and the 49th oldest airline in the world. It uses Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago as its hub.


The airline started operations in March 1929 after being founded by Commodore Arturo Merino Benitez who was with the Chilean Air Force. It started life as Linea Aeropostal Santiago-Arica while President Carlos Ibanez del Campo was in office as the President of Chile.

In 1932, it changed its name to Linea Aerea Nacional de Chile or National Air Line of Chile and used LAN-Chile as its name for commercial purposes. The airline started with a fleet of de Havilland Moth aircrafts (DH 60G Gipsy Moth.)

While other Latin American countries were happy with allowing American airline Panagra to fly on domestic routes in their country, Merino Benitez was in favour of using local Chilean carriers to fly these routes. This led to difficulties acquiring US made planes with LAN Airlines using French Potez 56 airplanes and German Junkers Ju 86 airplanes.

LAN Airlines also began a partnership with Lufthansa to fly international flights to and from Europe and with Lloyd Aero Boliviano of Bolivia and Peruvian carrier Faucett to fly to and from Bolivia and Peru respectively.

As WWII started, Junker’s BMW engines were required for the war effort and LAN replaced them with Lockheed Electra A-10s, a Lockheed Lodestar C-60 and after the war a Douglas DC-3. After the war, LAN joined IATA which had just formed and started flying to Buenos Aires and Punta Arenas. It started to fly to Lima, Peru and made the world’s first commercial flight over Antartica.

Soon LAN Airways bought a Boeing 707 and started flying long haul routes to destinations in the USA, Oceania and Europe. In 1969, LAN also started flying to Rio De Janiero, Asuncion and Cali after buying a fleet of Boeing 727s and then to Madrid, Frankfurt and Paris in 1970 with a fleet of Boeing 707s.

Its hub was initially at the Los Cerrilos Airport in Santiago but with the increasing demand for air travel and increasing traffic, the new Puhamel Airport or Arturo Merino Benitez Airport was built outside Santiago that could accommodate larger planes and more traffic. LAN Airlines moved to using this airport as its hub beginning in 1970.

LAN Airlines used to market and provide a service called an Air cruise which included long range flights through several continents over a month or less with stops in major cities along the way. The planes were designed and prepared for these with 80 first class seats with plenty of room for all tourists. This package was discontinued in 1989.

The Airline was privatized in 1989 with stakes sold to Icarosan and Scandanavian Airlines which sold its stake to local investors. LAN Airlines then acquired the country’s second largest airline, Ladeco and merged its subsidiary Fast Air with Ladeco to form LAN Express in 1998. In 2004, LAN Airlines unified its subsidiarys, LAN Pery, LAN Ecuador, LAN Dominica and LAN Express under one brand- LAN Airlines.

In 2010, LATAM Airlines was formed with the merger of LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines.

Ownership and Management

LAN Airlines is headquartered in Las Condes, Santiago Province where it moved from Estado 10 in downtown Santiago De Chile. It has five subsidiaries- LAN Peru, LAN Argentina, LAN Colombia, LAN Ecuador and LAN express. LAN Argentina flies domestic and International flights from Buenos Aires.

LAN Airlines also has five cargo branches LAN Cargo based in Chile, ABSA based in Brazil, Florida West International Airways based in the USA, LANCO based in Colombia and MasAir based in Mexico. LAN Dominica is a former subsidiary of the group.

The current CEO of the company is Enrique Cueto and the company posted a revenue of 5.7 billion USD in 2011 and a Net Income of 320.2 million USD in 2011.


LAN Airlines has 31 international routes, 17 domestic routes in Chile, 5 season routes and 4 marketed destinations across 21 countries in North and South America, Europe and Australasia. It also has plans to start flying to Washington DC and London with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It also plans to start routes to Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Barcelona, Zurich, Tome, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. In total it flies to 66 destinations currently.

It has chosen to make Cerro Moreno International Airport, Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Miami International Airport and Ministro Pistarini International Airport its focus cities. While its hub is Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago de Chile it uses El Dorado International airport, Jorge Chavez International Airport, Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport and Jorge Newbery Airfield as its secondary hubs.

LAN Airlines has codeshare agreements with ten airlines including American Airlines and British Airways.


LAN Airlines operates a fleet of 145 aircraft excluding its subsidiaries. It has 26 Airbus A319-100s, 72 Airbus A320-200s, 3 Airbus A340-300s, 31 Boeing 767-300ERs and 7 Boeing 787-9s. It also has orders in for 34 Airbus A319-100s, 9 Airbus A320-200s, 20 Airbus A320neos, 10 Airbus A321-200s, 4 Boeing 767-300ERs, 13 Boeing 787-8s and 10 Boeing 787-9s.

The Airbus A319 can seat a 144 passenges, the Airbus A320 can seat a 174. The Airbus A321 can seat 212, the Airbus A340 can seat 260, the Boeing 767 can seat 238 or 221 depending on the configuration, the Boeing 787 can seat 247 and the Boeing 787 can seat 292. The Airbus A340 is used on the Auckland and Sydney routes and will be replaced with the Boeing 787s when they arrive in 2015.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is being sold to LAN with the understanding that they are the first carrier to use it on the continent. LAN Airlines has used and retired a variety of aircraft since its inception including de Havillands, Douglases, Fords, Hawkers, Lockheeds, Martins, McDonnells and a Sud Aviation Caravelle which was used on its first long haul flight to New York via Lima, Bogota and Montego Bay. It plans to keep expanding its fleet to fulfill its ambition for greater penetration into Europe and East Asia.

Due to its long history, LAN Chile has been involved in a few accidents, the worst of which saw 87 passengers and crew on board a Douglas DC-6 in 1965 perish as the plane flew into a mountain in the Andes. This is the worst aircraft accident in Chilean history and none since them have seen as many fatalities.

Other Services

LAN Airlines is part of the Oneworld alliance which includes British Airways. It also has a local loyalty program called LANPASS which is a frequent flyer program with more than four million members. Over 250,000 LANPASS members fly for free every year as they earn points from each time they fly with LAN Airlines, any other Oneworld alliance member or a LANPASS affiliate airline or a LANPASS affiliate business around the world.

There are four membership categories- Premium (Oneworld Ruby,) Premium Silver (Oneworld Sapphire,) Comodoro (Oneworld Emerald,) and Comodoro Black.

LAN Airline also operates lounges with partnership from TAM Airlines at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez Airport (Mistral Lounge and Neruda Lounge,) Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, El Dorado International Airport in Bogota. It also plans to open one lounge each at Miami International Airport and Sao Paulo International Airport.

The lounges can be used by passengers on LAN and TAM First class, Premium Business, Business and Premium Economy and members of the LANPASS program that have reached the Comodoro and Premium Silver levels. Additionally members of the TAM Fidelidade Program which is their loyalty program can also use the lounges if they belong to the Black, Vermelho Plus or Vermelho levels of the program.

Oneworld members can also use the lounges if they belong to the Emerald or Sapphire levels. The lounges were designed by Chilean Architect Mathias Klotz and Olivia Putman from Putman Paris.

There is also a program called South America AirPass which is a special airfare that is available to non South American passengers that allows them to buy single one way coupons for flights on any of the South American routes that LAN airlines flies.

The prices are adjusted taking into account the fact if the passenger has entered South America on a LAN or Oneworld alliance member flight and the distance between the point of departure and the destination. These coupons can be bought outside South America and used upon arrival on the continent.

Routes Flown by Lan Airlines

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