Latin America's Quiet Flyer
Relatively unknown by investors outside of its home region, LanChile is growing and profitable at a time when the world's mightiest airlines have faltered.
In the same way that British entrepreneur Sir Richard
Branson transformed transatlantic economy travel with superior
service at Virgin Atlantic, Lanchile has raised the bar for
Latin American airlines. Like Virgin, LanChile offers
first-rate economy air travel, providing its passengers with
personal video screens, interactive video games, lots of
legroom and high-quality food. But the Chilean airline has also
excelled as a business, deftly managing its operations and
finances in an embattled industry worn down by successive
crises since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
LanChile's pretax income tripled during the first half of
this year to $29.5 million, compared to the first half of last
year. "Our priority is to be profitable and to protect our
investment grade rating," says Alejandro De la Fuente,
LanChile's chief financial officer. LanChile may even have to
make a trip to the equity capital markets. "Right now, we have
postponed orders for...
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