LAN Airlines to Invest $3.2B in Planes

NEW YORK - Chilean carrier LAN Airlines SA said Friday it will add 32 Boeing 787 Dreamliner long-haul aircraft to the company's fleet between 2011 and 2016, marking the largest investment in the company's history.

LAN will purchase 26 aircraft, and acquire 6 more via leasing contracts. The total investment will reach approximately $3.2 billion.

In addition, LAN's board approved 10 purchase options of the same aircraft model for 2017 and 2018.

The 787 Dreamliner model is estimated to begin commercial operations by year-end 2008. The fuel efficient, ecologically friendly airplane has the capacity to seat between 250 and 300 passengers, in two classes.

These new aircraft are aimed at replacing and growing LAN's long-haul fleet, and will allow LAN to operate new international routes that will be added to its current network, including LAN Peru, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador.

This fleet order in in addition to LAN's previously announced orders, such as the incorporation of 52 new passenger and cargo aircraft for short and long-haul routes, scheduled to be received between now and 2011.