With launch of the Olympic games this Friday, LATAM Airlines Brazil has launched over 100 initiatives to make the trip easier on athletes and international visitors.
The airline’s focus is on efficient support for fans and delegations, to ensure continued high service standards during the months of August and September, on-time performance and safety.
LATAM expects to serve 25% of air travellers to the games and 30% of the up to 4,500 Paralympic athletes.
The company is investing R$20 million in operational improvements, with R$15 million allocated for “special operational initiatives” and R$5 million on “resolving contingencies.”
“This is the logistics challenge of the world’s biggest event, and we are ready to provide fast service to athletes, take care of all passengers, accommodate special cargo and coordinate mass departures and arrivals, which will be concentrated in specific days and in a single city,” said Eduardo Costa, Services and Innovation Director at LATAM Airlines Brasil.
Dedicated Olympics Operations Control Desk
A special operations desk, dedicated to the games, was opened on August 1. It will be open 24/7 throughout the Olympics and Paralympics and run by a multi-disciplinary team with a stand-by team to coordinate contingencies.
Olympic Guide and Assistance at Airports
LATAM has also published a 37-page digital Passenger Guide available in three languages (Portuguese, Spanish and English) which gives travellers a great deal information about the games, the travel process, and the airports. A print version will be distributed to LATAM Travel customers at Brazil’s main airports. Foreign customers will also be helped by English and Spanish speaking interpreters at Rio de Janeiro (Santos Dumont and Galeão), Brasília and São Paulo (Congonhas and Guarulhos). LATAM has also said that it will accommodate customers affected by any disruptions with a personal credit card to cover expenses, meals and accommodations.
LATAM has positioned six additional aircraft at the busiest airports to meet extra demand: four Airbus A320 in Brasília and São Paulo (Congonhas and Guarulhos) and two Boeings (one 767 and one 777) in São Paulo (Guarulhos). The airline has also added 150 new domestic flights to its schedule for the duration of the Rio 2016 Olympics at the Santos Dumont and Galeão airports.
Pre-Check for Athletes
Up to 15% of Olympic delegations will arrive to and depart from Rio de Janeiro on LATAM during the games. The airline is offering advance passenger and baggage check-in at the Olympic and Paralympic Village with special identification for personal items. The airline expects 995 of Brasil’s Olympic delegation to use these pre-check conveniences.
Paralympic Travel Care
To serve a concentrated flow of passengers with disabilities. The airline says these include:
Platform lifts and protection equipment for the passengers’ personal wheelchairs.
LATAM Brasil Airlines has partnered with a Brazilian manufacturer to develop a proprietary boarding and landing wheelchair model. All 48 of these special wheelchairs have been developed to fit the aisles of any LATAM aircraft and are located at the airports of São Paulo (Congonhas and Guarulhos), Brasília and Rio de Janeiro (Santos Dumont and Galeão).
Wheelchair users will sit on their own wheelchair for boarding, as they pass through the air bridge to access the aircraft. Travellers will then be transferred by the airplane’s left door to one of LATAM Airlines Brazil’s specially-made boarding chairs through the aircraft’s aisles and to their seat.
Traveller’s personal wheelchairs will be unloaded on the platform lift through the aircraft’s right door and swiftly placed in the same aircraft’s hold with protective packaging and reusable belts for safe placement.
Additional safety and security planning
The airline began training a multidisciplinary team to deal with the additional requirements of the Olympic games last year and has conducted three company exercises on contingency scenarios as well as another two exercises in partnership with the Civil Aviation Department (SAC) at the airports in São Paulo (Congonhas and Guarulhos) and Rio de Janeiro (Santos Dumont and Galeão).
Scenarios considered included concentrated demand, transfer processes and specific logistics for mobility items. The teams were trained based on best practices from other airline groups and airport operators in cities which have previously hosted the Olympic games.
Over 1,000 employees at the airports, including baggage and boarding areas, were trained to handle mobility items and operate ambulant and lifting platforms, to serve passengers with disabilities.
The airline has also shored-up and expanded its oversight and control of safety procedures. The airline is collaborating with the operation and intelligence arms of the aviation safety system, government entities and private agents in Brasil and abroad to ensure the safety and security of passengers.
In preparation for the Olympic events, LATAM participated in forums which specifically focused on preventive planning for its operations.