LAN To Fight Crisis With New Business

Chilean airline LAN is seeking to counter the drag of world crisis on passenger and cargo traffic with new business ventures, Executive Vice President Enrique Cueto said on Tuesday.

LAN's passenger traffic rose 7.6 percent in March from a year earlier, thanks to the performance of its operations in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, but that is well short of the double-digit increases it saw for much of last year.

Its cargo traffic fell 24.2 percent in March year-on-year.

LAN has started domestic flights in Ecuador and expanded its cargo business in South America in recent months.

"What have we done in the short-term (to face the crisis)? We have sped up our entry into Ecuador's domestic market," Cueto said during a business seminar in the Chilean capital, Santiago.

"We are opening new markets... initiating the LAN Colombia (cargo) operation," added Cueto, who shares control of LAN with billionaire businessman and presidential candidate Sebastian Pinera.

LAN started domestic cargo operations in Brazil last month. LAN's cargo network covers about 75 percent of destinations worldwide.

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