LATAM Airlines Group, Latin America's largest airline holding company, is considering using its incoming fleet of A320neo family jets for transatlantic operations group sources have disclosed to Brazil's Aeromagazine.

According to the report, LATAM is studying the type's capabilities ahead of a decision on where to open the group's first domestic and international hub in Northeast Brazil. The decision has now been delayed until the first half of 2016 to allow for further studies of each of the three candidate airports - Fortaleza, Natal Aluizio Alves, and Recife.

LATAM is studying the suitability of each airfield in relation to its planned transatlantic network operations as well as flights north to the United States. Under its plan, year-round scheduled services to Europe would be undertaken by the A320neo while larger A350-900s and even B767-300s would be used to cover seasonal surges in demand.

The A320neo is expected to make its debut before year-end with launch operator Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l). The Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1100G-JM variant of the type recently received joint Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) figures indicate the type will have a range of 6,900 km which is well within the limit for flights from north-eastern Brazil to Madrid Barajas.