TAM’s World Cup goal: long-term win

There have been plenty of reports on the state of the airport, the air traffic control network and other aviation-related services in Brazil in advance of the World Cup starting later in just over a week. Despite all of the questions raised in the media there has not been much in the way of public statements from the airlines about their expectations for the coming month of travel in the country. Speaking at that IATA Annual General Meeting in Doha TAM CEO Marco Bologna offered up some insight on how his airline expects to fare during the period.

Futbol Sky High Honeywell

Operationally, Bologna expect to see a notable drop in RPMs during the 30 day period surrounding the event, something to the tune of 10-12%. And not only will they have fewer total RPMs but the fare mix is shifting as well. As Bologna explained it, most business travelers will either be home watching the games, out of the country or otherwise not traveling for business. On top of that there are also a number of adjustments being made to the schedule and operations to manage traffic for the fans.

It is a huge impact in terms of costs because we need to reshape our operations to be where the teams are going to play. … We need to prepare extra crew, have more aircraft reserves, more contingencies in general. And [we expect] a reduction in revenues because the business travelers are [not traveling]…. We consider it an investment we are making…cost of 50 million reals (~$22 million USD). We are expecting to have reduced fares because we are replacing business travelers by leisure travelers.

Despite these challenges and costs, Bologna remains optimistic about the potential long-term value of the event to TAM.

It is a good business for us. It is an opportunity for passengers to know our company, to fly with us. It is an investment.

Here’s hoping that works out for them in the end.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Just returned from Sao Paulo where I heard some interesting things about the coming world cup.
    The Brazilian regulator has established no-fly zones 2 hours before and 3 hours after each match making a huge mess of the scheduling for the airlines. They have also instituted huge penalties (fines) for delays of 15mins+ for both the airline and the Pilot (!) to make sure that these no-zones are respected.

    Hotels have not seen the anticipated number of bookings and are now dropping prices considerably.

    This will be really interesting 🙂

  2. TAM is going to lose customers based on their handling of flights during World Cup. I know a slew of travelers going to games around Brazil that have been screwed by TAM. Despite booking flights more than 6 months in advance of their travel day, TAM unilaterally changed their booked flights, ruining their travel plans. What is worse is that they don’t notify you of the change by email or phone. You only find out by logging on to the account and checking the reservation.

    In my case, we are losing almost an entire day of our trip. On top of that, they changed my flight to depart at 3:30 am. The pisser of it all is that they changed up the flights so late in the game and didn’t notify customers, there are no alternatives. TAM has you by the balls and they know it, and they don’t care. Forgot to mention that we are locked into 3 night minimum hotels that are a waste because TAM shortened the trip.

    I will never fly the airline again. They are a disgrace.

  3. @RioGuy and @KattMat, if the Brazilian authorities made the no-fly zones, that means all airlines, including TAM, are affected. I’d imagine anyone going to World Cup will now need to recheck their bookings!

    I went to Sochi earlier this year for the winter olympics where Olympic Park was literally next to the airport and gladly no flight changes were needed.

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