LATAM Airlines Group has announced it will operate a new, non-stop service between Santiago and Melbourne, Australia, from October 2017.
The westbound Santiago-Melbourne leg – measuring more than 11,000 kilometres in distance with a flight time of approximately 15 hours – will become the longest non-stop flight in LATAM´s history.
LATAM will operate three non-stop flights per week between Santiago and Melbourne, becoming the first airline group to offer a direct service between the two cities, as well as the only carrier to fly non-stop between Melbourne and Latin America.
After Sydney, Melbourne will be the second city in Australia served by the airline group.
“We are pleased to close this year with the announcement of such a significant new international service, which will also become the longest flight in LATAM’s history.
“This second route to Australia is a welcome addition to the new destinations we have added to our network this year that include São Paulo-Johannesburg, Lima-Washington DC and Santiago-Puerto Natales,” said Enrique Cueto, chief executive, LATAM Airlines Group.
“Over recent years, we’ve seen increasing demand for flights between Latin America and this part of the world – both from business and leisure travellers – and we want to continue supporting the growth of bilateral tourism and commerce.
“With the Melbourne service, we are not only reinforcing LATAM’s commitment to Oceania and the Asia-Pacific, but also to offering unrivalled connectivity to, from and within Latin America,” Cueto added.
LATAM currently operates seven flights per week from Santiago to Sydney (via Auckland, New Zealand).
In 2015, the airline introduced the Boeing 787-9 aircraft to the route, increasing capacity by 27 per cent.
In total, LATAM transports approximately 190,000 passengers per year between Latin America and Oceania.
Australian ambassador to Chile, Tim Kane, said: “Australia very much welcomes this LATAM initiative.
“It is an important milestone for the airline group, the state of Victoria, Australia and Latin America.
“Chile is Australia’s gateway to the region, just as Australia is Chile’s platform into Asia.
“These new non-stop flights will deepen and broaden Australia-Latin American links, open new markets, expand people-to-people opportunities and enhance Melbourne as a key destination for Latin American travellers to Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
With the new direct Melbourne service, LATAM estimates that it will transport an additional 75,000 passengers between the two continents each year.