LAN's latest Boeing 787-9 has graced Sydney with a one-off visit ahead of beginning regular flights to Santiago from late September.
The larger and longer-range version of the Boeing 787-8, which started on the Sydney-Auckland-Santiago in April this year, filled in for its smaller sibling last Friday August 21st, bringing with it a little 'surprise and delight' for business class passengers.
Here's what passengers at the pointy end of LAN's Boeing 787-8 usually get...
By comparison, Friday's flyers got a sneak peek at LAN's luxe new business class designed by highly-regarded consulting firm Priestmangoode.
The stylish seats boast a decent amount of personal space and 15.4 inch video screens...
... and convert into fully flat beds.
LAN's Boeing 787-9 has the same number of business class berths as the -8 but adds an extra 66 seats in economy.
The interiors are identical to those of Brazilian partner TAM's Airbus A350s which will take wing by the end of this year on routes to Europe and North America....
... and which, like the LAN Dreamliners, will eventually carry an all-new livery to reflect the unified LATAM brand.
Skipping the Auckland stopover?
LAN's daily Sydney-Santiago flights have proven popular with trans-Tasman travellers who alight at the route's Auckland stopover, with the Qantas' Oneworld partner offering competitive fares, international-grade business class and a unique 'Boeing 787 experience' compared to Qantas' own fleet of Boeing 737s.
However, the South American airline may move to direct flights between Sydney and Santiago some time after the airline's new Boeing 787-9 debuts on the route in September.
LAN is also looking at adding Melbourne and Brisbane to its Australian map, with the smaller Boeing 787-8 shuttling passengers to Auckland and then onto Santiago.
Those are two of the options before LAN as it seeks a larger slice of the Australian market.
“The 787-9 allows us to think of many possibilities, and a direct flight [between Sydney and Santiago] will be possible because the range on the 787-8 is not quite there," said LATAM Airlines Group managing director Asia Pacific Patricio Aylwin, told Australian Business Traveller at the launch of the Boeing 787-8 flights in April.
Aylwin adds that while a direct route from Sydney is under consideration, the Boeing 787 also plays into "how we configure the whole Australia network eventually, to establish other ports in Australia."
Melbourne and Brisbane are at the top of that list, Aylwin says. "We'd love to be there, with further expansion of the market, but it's not the time just yet."
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