Chile’s dominant airline LAN said its first-half net profit surged 115.1 percent to $148.9 million from last year on improved air traffic in the wake of the financial crisis.

LAN has seen passenger and cargo traffic recover quickly this year as Latin American economies takes off.

The airline is moving agressively to expand in the region with plans to double its fleet and add routes in domestic and regional operations.

Passenger revenues rose 18.6 percent to $1.42 billion in the January-June period from a year earlier, while cargo earnings climbed 48 percent to $588 million.

The company’s posted second-quarter profit of $60.6 million from $4.2 million in the same period last year amid the worst of the world downturn.

LAN has placed orders for 95 A320 planes that it would get between 2010 and 2016, and might sell 15 A318 planes as part of its upgrade plan. (Reuters)