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El Prat Airport to continue growth with record figures and new route between Barcelona and Sao Paulo

LATAM Airlines Group will operate from El Prat Airport starting in October with a new route running between Barcelona and Sao Paulo through the TAM airline. Three weekly direct flights will be offered, in hopes of reaching 60,000 passengers a year. According to LATAM Airlines CEO, Rodrigo Contreras, the company chose Barcelona because they consider it "a strategic market in Europe," both for the growth of Catalan tourism in Brazil as well as for the Catalan capital as a tourist destination. In this sense, Contreras said Barcelona is the top Spanish destination chosen by Brazilian travellers and the fifth most popular in Europe for business trips and events. The addition of this flight is a continuation of an upward trend for El Prat, which recorded a 4.8% increase in passengers from January through June compared to the same period in 2014, including a 2.7% rise for the month of June.

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13 July 2015 07:52 PM

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ACN

El Prat de Llobregat (ACN) – LATAM Airlines Group will operate from El Prat Airport starting in October with a new route running between Barcelona and Sao Paulo through the TAM airline. Three weekly direct flights will be offered, in hopes of reaching 60,000 passengers a year. According to LATAM Airlines CEO, Rodrigo Contreras, the company chose Barcelona because they consider it "a strategic market in Europe," both for the growth of Catalan tourism in Brazil as well as for the Catalan capital as a tourist destination. In this sense, Contreras said Barcelona is the top Spanish destination chosen by Brazilian travellers and the fifth most popular in Europe for business trips and events. The addition of this flight is a continuation of an upward trend for El Prat, which recorded a 4.8% increase in passengers from January through June compared to the same period in 2014, including a 2.7% rise for the month of June.


The company wants to position Barcelona as "one of the first and most important connection centres between Europe and the South American continent," Contreras said, after checking that there are 175,000 passengers flying between Brazil and Barcelona each year. In relation to these figures, the LATAM CEO highlighted that the volume of Catalan tourists to Sao Paulo has grown by 8% during the past five years, a statistic nearly twice that of other Spanish tourists.

The first flight on the new LATAM route will take off from Barcelona on 2 October and will run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. A Boeing 767 with 191 seats in the economy cabin and 30 executive seats will be making the rounds between the two cities. Although Contreras said that in the long run a daily flight should not be ruled out, he said that for now the company is "calm" in regards to the occupancy expectations for the anticipated three weekly flights. "We want to transform ourselves into the best option between Barcelona and Sao Paulo," he remarked.

Economic impact in several areas

For the Barcelona airport, the addition of a route to Sao Paulo marks a continuation of its recent upward trend, in which passenger growth has been sustained each year starting in 2010, and the number of intercontinental flights has increased. El Prat Airport closed this June out with 3,815,345 passengers, 2.7% higher than the figure for June 2014. In the first half of 2015 the airport recorded 18,063,943 users, 4.8% more than during the first six months of 2014.

From the Barcelona City Council, Albert de Gregori, the Director of Employment, Business and Tourism, celebrated the premiere of the new flight to Sao Paulo, ensuring that these flights are "a determining factor for the location of corporate companies that have an international focus," he said, while allowing for companies to strengthen their ties that have already been established in Barcelona. Gregori pointed out that Barcelona represents 21% of all Spanish exports to Brazil, and in turn, the city receives 30% of its imports from the South American country.

The Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Santi Vila, in charge of transport policies, joined the applauders because of the economic impact the flight will have, and while he emphasised the touristic impact, he indicated that all areas can benefit indirectly at the very least. According to Vila, apart from tourism, Catalonia and El Prat Airport also "have managed to be linked to industrial-economic activity as well as business and academic activity." In fact, El Prat Airport transported 9,916 tons of cargo in June – a 16.2% jump from last year's number – and from January through June, the airport oversaw the transport of 55,509 tons of cargo, representing a 10.2% increase. For this reason, Vila called for a "coordinated effort" to "protect" these sectors as economic engines.

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  • An aircraft from LATAM group (by LATAM / ACN)

  • An aircraft from LATAM group (by LATAM / ACN)