British Airways and LanChile, a new fellow oneworld alliance member, have reached a code-share agreement providing connections between Santiago and London.
The UK airline has struggled to make a profit on its direct flights to the Chilean capital since they were introduced in 1993. It currently flies between London and Santiago five times per week, with its Boeing 747-400s stopping on the way at Buenos Aires. LanChile does not fly to the UK.
From August 1, those British Airways services will terminate at Buenos Aires. Connections between Buenos Aires and Santiago will be flown by LanChile, with these flights also operating with the BA code.
Carl Michel, British Airways’ Commercial Director, said: “Against mounting losses, we were facing the difficult decision of having to suspend services to this part of the world all together - or find an alternative solution. I am delighted that we have found a way of continuing to serve Chile and air travellers to and from southern Latin America.
“With LanChile now firmly in place as the first South American member of oneworld, we are delighted to be forging even stronger links between our two airlines. LanChile is one of the finest carriers in Latin America and we look forward to working with them to improve services for travellers across the South Atlantic.”
Ignacio Cueto, LanChile’s Senior Vice-President Passenger Services, said: “We intend to make transfers between our connecting flights so smooth, convenient and easy that, for our customers, it will be just as good as flying all the way with just one airline. That’s one of the great consumer benefits of an airline alliance like this. It’s good news for travellers to and from our country and good news for both airlines.”
British Airways will maintain a commercial presence in Chile. The airline is working closely with LanChile to ensure employment opportunities for its employees at Santiago airport.