TAM Linhas Aéreas (São Paulo Congonhas) CEO Claudia Sender says the carrier's parent firm, LATAM Airlines Group SA, is to develop a new hub in Brazil's north-east to compliment its São Paulo Guarulhos, Rio de Janeiro International, and Brasília Juscelino Kubitschek International operations in the country's south. In addition to opening up the country's less accessible north to new domestic flights, the project will also allow for increased connectivity with other Latin American countries as well as major European cities.

"The project will expand the group's connectivity within Brazil, South America, and internationally, in particular by increasing the number of destinations in Europe," she said. "It will also reaffirm the Group’s leadership in Latin America, increase connectivity options for customers and optimize coverage of passenger and cargo flows between Brazil and other markets.”

LATAM says three cities - Natal Aluizio Alves, Fortaleza International, and Recife - are currently undergoing feasibility studies with a decision expected by the end of 2015. Construction of ancillary facilities at the chosen city are slated to begin early next year with operations to start in December 2016.

Overall, the project is part of the Group's USD1.5 billion investment in infrastructure in Brazil.