South American airline LATAM has confirmed the launch of non-stop flights between Melbourne and Santiago from October 5, 2017.
The route will will offer the only direct connection between Melbourne and Latin America and see three flights per week on a Boeing 787-9.
LATAM's flight LA804 will depart Melbourne at 7.55pm on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, arriving in Santiago at 7.00pm the same day.
There are scores of onwards flights from Santiago throughout Chile and the region – including direct services to major cities such as São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Lima, Bogota and Quito – although the 13 hour flight and 7pm arrival may well favour breaking your journey at Santiago.
The LA805 return leg will be wheels-up from Santiago at 12.55pm on Monday, Thursday and Saturday to reach Melbourne at 5.55pm the next day.
PREVIOUS [2 December 2016] | South American airline LATAM will begin non-stop flights between Melbourne and Santiago from October 2017, Australian Business Traveller can exclusively reveal.
Australian Business Traveller understands the flights – tipped to be announced this month by the Oneworld member and Qantas partner – will run three times each week on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
This sports the airline's latest business class seats, arranged in a 2-2-2 layout...
... which convert into a fully-flat bed for the overnight trek.
LATAM already runs a daily Dreamliner flight between Sydney and Santiago, albeit with a stop-over in Auckland (which has proven a popular trans-Tasman option for business travellers), however the new Melbourne service will soar straight through to the Chilean capital in around 12 hours.
Travellers from Melbourne will have access to Qantas' first class and business class lounges, with a split-level flagship LATAM lounge at Santiago ahead of the return journey...
... offering a well-stocked bar...
… and a dedicated sleeping room for weary travellers arriving early for their flight or riding out a long international transit.
Approached for comment by Australian Business Traveller, a spokesperson for the airline said "LATAM Airlines Group continues to explore opportunities to expand its presence within the Oceania region to provide our passengers with more choice and more flexibility, however we cannot comment on any new routes at the current time."
Qantas also flies non-stop four days each week between Sydney and Santiago, while Air New Zealand offers four flights a week between Auckland and Buenos Aires with connecting flights from Australia.