Page last updated at 07:28 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 08:28 UK

Latin American airlines to merge

Taca plane

Two of Latin America's best known airlines are set to merge in a deal aimed at cost-cutting.

Avianca of Colombia and El Salvador's Taca will join forces, but have said that each will maintain its own identity and operate separately.

The two airlines have about 130 planes and some 13,000 employees.

Their combined routes cover about 100 destinations in the Americas and Europe - where they operate both passenger and cargo services.

Avianca's shareholders will get 67% percent of the stock in the new holding company while Taca's invetsors will take the remainder.

"This is a historic event in aviation, because we are bringing together two of the airlines with the most operating time in the world... to create a leading group in the industry," said Avianca chief executive Fabio Villegas.

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