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TAM Expects Brazil Air Travel Demand To Grow 7%-9% This Year

05/14/2012 | 10:13am US/Eastern

TAM SA (TAM, TAMM4.BR), Brazil's biggest airline, said Monday it expects demand for air travel in Brazil to grow as much as 9% this year, possibly leading the company to reduce its offer of seats.

Brazil air travel will likely expand by 7% to 9%, TAM Chief Executive Marco Antonio Bologna said in a conference call. TAM, which is in the process of merging with Chile's LAN Airlines SA (LFL, LAN.SN ), previously expected growth of between 8% and 11%.

TAM will likely cut its number of seats by up to 2%, while international flights may see an increase in offer of as little as 1%. Overall, the number of seats offered could expand by 1% or be cut by 1%, TAM said.

With the reduction in number of seats, load factor--the percentage of seats filled--will likely end the year between 76% and 78%, in line with TAM's previous estimate.

-By Paulo Winterstein, Dow Jones Newswires; 55-11-3544-7073; paulo.winterstein@dowjones.com

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