As part of a new international initiative, TAM Brazilian Airlines has opened a sales office in Atlanta to cover the southeastern states of Georgia, North and South Carolina and Tennessee.
Wesley Veiga, the former district sales manager here for Brazil’s oldest airline, Varig Brazilian Airlines, has assumed a similar position on behalf of TAM as travel between the Southeast and Brazil is growing rapidly.
The Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) estimates roughly 19,000 Brazilian visitors spent at least one night here in 1997.
The U.S. Commerce Department reports that Brazil is the seventh top ranked air market to the mainland U.S., and may overtake France as sixth when the figures for 1998 are finally compiled. The department also reports that Brazilian shoppers in the U.S. are apt to buy nearly double that of the average Japanese shopper overseas.
TAM already has a code sharing agreement with American Airlines providing service from Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and New York gateways. In December, however, it launched two daily flights to Miami of its own and TAM flights between Brazil and France are scheduled to begin in April.
Mr. Veiga explained that TAM may be less well known outside of Brazil than Varig because it has concentrated its growth inside the country, adding that TAM has more routes in Brazil than those of all three of its domestic competitors, Varig, TransBrazil and VASP.
He also said, however, that the company has decided the demand for international flights has become too great to ignore any longer.
According to Mr. Veiga, TAM’s flights will compete on customer service as well as price, citing the space devoted to its seats and the technological amenities its flights will offer. The airline is in the process of acquiring 10 state-of-the art Airbus A330-200 planes to compete internationally, he added.
And he plans to concentrate on developing corporate clientele as well as to work closely with travel agents throughout his region to assure the new flights to and from Miami are a success.
For more information, Mr. Veiga may be reached by calling (770) 953-3688; fax, (770) 953-3197.
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