Brazil’s Council for Economic Defense (CADE) has approved the merger between Chile’s LAN Airlines and Brazil’s TAM in a unanimous vote.

The antitrust regulator imposed two conditions before allowing the carriers to combine under LATAM Airlines Group, the single holding company that will own them both. The airlines must give up two slot pairs at Sao Paulo Guarulhos for the Sao Paulo-Santiago route and exit oneworld or Star Alliance. Santiago-based LAN is a oneworld member and TAM is part of Star Alliance (ATW Daily News, Nov. 21).

In a statement, LAN and TAM said “both conditions are in line to what LAN offered to the Chilean Fiscalía Nacional Economica last January, through an out-of-court agreement and were afterward reiterated by Chile’s antitrust court” (ATW Daily News, Sept. 22).  

The carriers said the regulation approval process for the merger is now complete in Brazil and the merger will close in the first quarter of 2012.

LAN shareholders will meet Dec. 21 to approve the terms and conditions of the merger and of the entities that will hold the TAM shares after the exchange offer occurs. TAM’s shareholders will meet Dec. 23.

Photo: LAN Airlines and TAM aircraft. By Rob Finlayson