Yesterday (1 August) marked the official kick-off of LATAM Airlines Brazil’s special operation for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brazil’s main airports.
A total of more than 100 special operational initiatives were developed to efficiently serve the fans and delegations, and maintain service quality for all passengers travelling with the airline in the months of August and September.
The main focus is to guarantee on-time and safe operation throughout the event, paying special attention to the opening and closing weekends, when Rio de Janeiro will welcome a concentrated flow of passengers in its two airports (Santos Dumont and Galeão).
LATAM Airlines Brazil expects to serve around 25 per cent of the public using air travel to get to the games. Of the 4,500 Paralympic athletes, 30 per cent are expected to travel on LATAM aircraft. The company’s investment in the operation will total up to R$20 million, with R$15 million allocated for special operational initiatives and R$5 million to resolving potential 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 Brazil.
The special actions planned by LATAM Airlines Brazil focus on the following:
• Special Control Centre: a special operations desk fully dedicated to the games started operating at 4am yesterday (1 August). The centre will be available 24/7 throughout the event and will be run by a multi-disciplinary team. The stand-by team coordinates potential contingencies on an integrated basis in order to mitigate impacts and rapidly develop solutions for passengers during the games
• Paralympic care: to serve the concentrated flow of passengers with disabilities, the company has temporarily adapted some procedures on board and at airports. LATAM Airlines Brazil has also made available platform lifts and protection equipment for the passengers’ personal wheelchairs. Additionally, the company has developed, in partnership with a Brazilian manufacturer, a proprietary boarding and landing wheelchair model. All of these 48 wheelchairs have been developed exclusively to access the aisles of any LATAM aircraft and are located at the busy airports of São Paulo (Congonhas and Guarulhos), Brasília and Rio de Janeiro (Santos Dumont and Galeão)
• To board, wheelchair users will sit on their own wheelchair to pass through the airbridge to access the aircraft. By the airplane’s left door, users will be transferred to one of LATAM Airlines Brazil’s boarding chairs to access the aircraft’s aisles and take their seat
• Meanwhile, their personal wheelchair 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
• Flexibility for athletes: up to 15 per cent of delegations will arrive at and depart from Rio de Janeiro on a LATAM Airlines Brazil flight during the games. They can take advantage of advance passenger and baggage check-in at the Olympic and Paralympic Village with special identification for items. As many as 995 members of the Brazilian delegation will benefit from this measure, for example
• Special care and assistance at airports:
a LATAM Passenger Guide in three languages (Portuguese, Spanish and English) provides instructions to make the customer’s trip easy and simple. The guide is already available here
. It will also be distributed to LATAM Travel customers and at Brazil’s main airports. Foreign customers will also be assisted by interpreters for English and Spanish speakers at the airports in Rio de Janeiro (Santos Dumont and Galeão), Brasília and São Paulo (Congonhas and Guarulhos). Furthermore, in the event of any contingency, each customer will be entitled to a personal credit card to cover expenses with meals and accommodation
• Network and Fleet: six additional aircraft are already positioned at the busiest airports, with four Airbus A320 in Brasília and São Paulo (Congonhas and Guarulhos) and two Boeings (one 767 and one 777) in São Paulo (Guarulhos). A total of 150 additional domestic LATAM flights are scheduled for the Rio 2016 Olympics period at the Santos Dumont and Galeão airport
Preparing LATAM Airlines Brazil for the Rio 2016 Olympics
Implemented one year ago and developed by a multidisciplinary team, the company’s preparation for the operation at the Rio 2016 Olympics included three company exercises and another two 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).
They tested scenarios of concentrated demand, transfer processes and specific logistics for mobility items. The exercises were based on the best practices of other airline groups and airline and airport operators that have already served the public in previous games.
In addition, over 1,000 employees in the airport, baggage and boarding areas were trained to handle mobility items, to operate ambulift and lifting platforms and to provide services to passengers with disabilities.
Furthermore, the airline reinforced and expanded its oversight and control of safety procedures and intensified training to teams in all aspects related to safety. The carrier works on a coordinated and integrated basis with all agencies of the aviation safety system, including government and private agents from the operating and intelligence areas – both in Brazil and abroad. It also participated in specific forums for the preventive planning of its operations.