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LAN to LATAM - A short history and 20 (787-10) Pics

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Latin America has been always a fascinating conglomerate of interesting airlines, in perpetual competition with one another for survival and marker share, thereby creating an extremely rich aviation history. We must keep in mind that KLM may be the oldest operating airline in the world, but its founding was ahead by only less than 2 months of one in Latin America, the Avianca of Columbia (Dec. 5, 1919, vs. Oct. 7, 1919). Avianca, Varig, and LAN, all well-known to us, are among the earliest airlines in Latin America. Chilean LAN acquired Brazilian TAM and became LATAM, while Varig, the stalwart Brazilian flag carrier of yesteryears, after first breaking up into "Old Varig" and "New Varig", eventually got dissolved into GOL airline of today.

To understand the aviation history of Latin America, one needs to understand the (less-known) historic connection of Latin America with Germany and Germans. Varig's founder was Otto Ernst Meyer, a WW-I decorated hero, and a German aviator, and Varig's first a/c was (not surprisingly) a German Dornier Do J Wal. Columbian Avianca's fore-runner, SCDATA, was actually a Colombo-German enterprise, and its first ever flight, also the first (official) flight in the Western Hemisphere, was flown by German Helmuth von Krohn, using a Junkers (Float) F.13 along the Magdalena River in Colombia. LAN airline of Chile (subject of this post) also greatly (and indirectly) benefited from the (Chilean) Government initiated (focused) immigration by which German know-how could be incorporated into the local industrial economy. So, how did these events come about between the two regions, a world apart from each other? This is because there was a huge wave of emigration, in the early 19th century, especially after WW-I, from Germany to the South American countries (North America been closed to such emigration). These German expatriates introduced the latest aviation technology and stimulated growth in the Latin American aviation sector, ripe for (post-War) aviation enterprises, as it was also true for other parts of the world.

With Varig fallen by the side, LAN, now, remains one of the two oldest airlines of Latin America (along with Avianca) still operating to this day. LAN had started modestly with a fleet of de Havilland Moth planes (records indicate that it had first deployed a DH.60 Gipsy Moth, the first variant of the Moth series, see an example of another Moth, a (beautiful) de Havilland DH.83 Fox Moth, in the recent post by jankees). Originating with an initial fleet of Moths, LATAM has currently become the largest operator of Boeing 787 Dreamliners in South America.

I've shown below 2 sets of images of 787-10, the first 7 shots are those of the original Chile-based "LAN" airline 787-10 lifting off, and the last 13 shots are those for the merged Chilean-Brazilian "LATAM" group 787-10, touching down. Note the evolution of the livery from the blue-centric LAN (and the red-centric TAM, not shown) to the new LATAM color scheme that is composed of both blue and red colors (look at the twin-colored ribbons on the tail). Since LATAM now represents 2 countries (and the spirit of Latin America), compromises had to be made, e.g., elimination of the (time-honored) Chilean flag carrier's "star" from the tail.

Hope you enjoy these 2 collections of images, at São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport (I'd earlier shown VASP at the domestic "São Paulo/Congonhas" airport), in a rainy/cloudy low-visibility condition.

Thanks for viewing and your interest.





















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Painstakingly researched (as expected) and some interesting weather for the "photo-shoot."

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Fine set, like the LATAM livery, looks good on the 787 !

cheers 😉

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My Rig : Intel I7-7820X 8 Core ( 16 Threads ) @ 4,0, ASUS Prime X299 A II,  64 GB 3600-17 Trident Z, 750W Corsair CX750 80+ Bronze,  MSI 8GB RTX 2080 Super Ventus XS OC, WD 4TB and WD 6TB 7200 HD,  Win10 V.21H2, in use 3x 4K monitors 2x32 Samsung 1x27 LG  3840x2160.


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John, Will, pmplayer: Appreciated the comments...Thank you...!

[John: I had bits and pieces already in hand...so I didn't have to start from scratch ...🙂...]

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