International Airlines Group (IAG) has signed a joint business agreement between British Airways, Iberia and LATAM Airlines Group on flights between Europe and South America. The joint business will provide better links between Europe and South America, greater choice of flights and enhanced frequent flyer benefits.

The airlines plan to seek approval from the appropriate competition authorities in South America and will inform the regulatory authorities in the European Union.

Under the joint business, British Airways, Iberia and LATAM Airlines Group would cooperate commercially and expand codeshare arrangements on flights between the European Union and South America, significantly increasing the number of destinations the airlines can offer customers.

Today’s announcement is a significant step towards strengthening customer choice and the oneworld alliance in which all the airlines are members.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “We already have a close commercial relationship with LATAM Airlines Group as part of oneworld and we look forward to enhancing the relationship further. This joint business would benefit customers by providing them with easier journeys to more destinations with better aligned schedules and increased frequencies. This would boost both tourism and business travel between South America and Europe.”

Enrique Cueto, LATAM Airlines Group’s chief executive, said: “This is excellent news for Latin America. This agreement would significantly improve connectivity bringing Europe closer to our region by providing a wider choice of flights and great benefits to our customers. This step is key to ensuring we offer the best network to our customers and increase the options to add new destinations to LATAM and its affiliates’ networks.”

The airlines’ combined route network would serve more than 100 destinations in South America and 87 destinations in Europe. By working together to provide enhanced links for connecting passengers, the airlines would expand customer choice via integrated networks, new non-stop routes, additional frequencies on existing routes and combined fares.

In addition, customers would have more opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles (Avios, LANPASS and TAM Fidelidade) on flights worldwide as well as continued reciprocal airport lounge access.

It is anticipated that regulatory approval could take between 12 and 18 months.