LATAM Airlines Brazil prepares its operation for Rio 2016 Olympics
LATAM Airlines Brazil has put in place more than 100 special operational measures to ensure efficient services for spectators and delegations during the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The special plan was developed over the past year by a multidisciplinary team comprising people from various areas of the company.
The objective is to ensure the delivery of efficient and on-time services, particularly on key dates of the Games – such as the opening and closing ceremonies – when passenger traffic in Rio de Janeiro is expected to peak.
The company anticipates it will transport around 25% of the public travelling by air to and from Rio de Janeiro during the Games. Of the 4,500 Paralympic athletes, 30% are expected to travel on LATAM Airlines Brazil.
Pre-event planning has included studies, procedure reviews, simulated exercises and additional training, which will be put into practice in August and September.
“LATAM is ready for the Olympic challenge,” said Eduardo Costa, Senior Director of Services and Innovation at LATAM Airlines Brazil. “We began our preparations in June last year to speed up services for athletes, provide care for Paralympic athletes, accommodate special air cargo and coordinate large-scale simultaneous arrivals and departures in a single city.”
LATAM Airlines Brazil is investing up to R$20 million in preparation for the Games, with R$15 million allocated to special operations and R$5 million set aside for potential contingencies during the events.
1. Simulations and tests: the company conducted three internal exercises and two exercises in cooperation with Brazil’s Civil Aviation Department (SAC) at airports in São Paulo (Congonhas and Guarulhos) and Rio de Janeiro (Santos Dumont and Galeão).
Scenarios were designed to test high concentrations of traffic, transfer processes and logistics for mobility items. The exercises were informed by the best practices of other airlines and airport operators that have served the public at previous Games.
2. Additional training: Over 1,000 airports, baggage and boarding area employees were specially trained to handle mobility items, operate ambulift and lifting platforms and provide services to passengers with disabilities.
3. Operational safety: the company has reinforced its safety procedures, working alongside the wider aviation safety community, which includes government and private agencies both in Brazil and abroad.
ACTIONS DURING THE GAMES
1. Special Control Center: a multidisciplinary team based Rio de Janeiro will work 24 hours a day during the Games to coordinate potential operational challenges and quickly identify solutions to mitigate the impact on passengers.
2. Care of Paralympic athletes: jointly with a Brazilian manufacturer, the airline is designing an airport wheelchair that will be used to support large arrivals and departures of persons with disabilities on any aircraft in the LATAM Airlines Brazil fleet. The airline is already able to transport as many as 20,000 passengers with disabilities per month; but during the Games, to meet the higher demand for disabled access, the airline has implemented streamlined processes for inflight service, access to the aircraft corridor, boarding and disembarking as well as baggage handling for mobility items.
3. Faster service with advance flight and baggage check-in at the Olympic Village: the airline expects that up to 15% of delegations will fly to and from Rio de Janeiro on LATAM Airlines. Advance check-in and baggage services will be available for these passengers at the Olympic and Paralympic Village with special identification for items. As many as 995 members of the Brazilian delegation will be able to benefit from this measure.
4. Special care and assistance at airports: a passenger guide, available in three languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish), will provide customers with useful information on the services offered by LATAM Airlines Brazil and the airports receiving the highest passenger flows during the Games. There will also be interpreters present for English and Spanish speakers at airports in Rio de Janeiro (Santos Dumont and Galeão), Brasília and São Paulo (Congonhas and Guarulhos). In the event of operational issues, personal credit cards will be made available to passengers to cover meal and accommodation expenses, ensuring rapid assistance and freedom of choice.
5. Route network and fleet: to ensure smooth connections in the event of operational challenges, six additional aircraft will be positioned at the busiest airports, with four Airbus A320s at airports in Brasília and São Paulo (Congonhas and Guarulhos) and a Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 in São Paulo (Guarulhos). The airline is also closely monitoring demand in order to schedule additional flights if needed. To date, approximately 100 additional domestic flights have been scheduled with the total number during the Games potentially reaching up to 300 flights.