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Avianca-TACA and Copa Airlines have been unanimously accepted as future member airlines of Star Alliance, a move set to expand the Alliance’s presence in Latin America.

According to Star Alliance, the addition of the two airline groups will provide Alliance passengers with access to 46 new destinations, additional direct connections between Latin America and cities in Europe, as well as flights connecting through Copa Airlines hubs in Panama City and Bogota and the Avianca-TACA hubs in Bogota, San Salvador, Lima and San Jose.

“The addition of these two quality airline groups concludes a strategic process which increases the Alliance’s footprint in the vibrant, growing economies of Latin America,” Star Alliance chief executive Jaan Albrecht said.

Starting with the addition of Continental Airlines which improved connections between North America and Central and South America and the addition of TAM Airlines in May, the Star Alliance strategy to grow their presence in the rapidly growing region looks sets to continue with this announcement, Mr Albrecht said.

“Copa Airlines’ membership in Star Alliance will enhance our global reach as we implement strong partnerships with the Alliance’s 27 carriers and link Latin America’s most efficient hub, our Hub of the Americas in Panama City, to Star Alliance´s vast global network,” Copa Airlines chief executive Pedro Heilbron said.

“[Joining the Alliance] is a determining factor for our competitive strategy that will enable us to leap forward in terms of the scope and scale of the benefits provided to our passengers,” Avianca-TACA chief executive Fabio Villegas said.

Mr Villegas added that joining the Alliance “will surely yield reciprocal benefits to all our clients”.

Integration of the two airline groups into Star Alliance is set to be complete by mid 2012 at which point the customers of the 31 alliance members will have access to more than 22,500 daily flights serving 1,292 destinations in 188 countries.

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Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A
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