LATAM is the latest airline to make a welcome return to Australian skies, with the carrier reconnecting Sydney and the Chilean capital of Santiago from March 29.
The restart schedule will initially see three flights per week, although Executive Traveller understands LATAM hopes to boost this to five times per week from July.
Flight LA801 will depart Santiago on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with the return leg LA800 wheels up from Sydney on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Premium passengers on LATAM’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner will enjoy a comfortable and stylish lie-flat bed in business class, with mod cons such as direct aisle access, a wide console for keeping documents, laptops and other items close at hand, and a shelf where that kit can be tucked out of the way until needed.
The route also involves a stopover in Auckland rather than a direct service – and while New Zealand remains largely off-limits for now, the airline says “entry requirements... will be made more flexible in phases with the complete reopening of its borders scheduled for October 2022.”
“Throughout the pandemic, we have actively collaborated with authorities to safely move towards a revival of the travel industry,” said Claudio Moro, regional marketing and e-commerce manager at LATAM.
“The resumption of routes to New Zealand and Australia is one more step on the way to a new normal. We will continue working toward greater international connectivity, always having the health and safety of our passengers and collaborators as a priority,” Moro added.
LATAM will enjoy a monopoly on the Sydney-Santiago corridor, with Qantas yet to reveal when – or even if – it will restart its Sydney-Santiago route.
The last time LATAM visited Australia it was a member of the Oneworld alliance, but it left the group in May 2020 after Delta Air Lines took a 20% stake worth US$1.9 billion to create a major partnership between the North and South American carriers.
While this was widely seen as opening the door for LATAM to jump across to SkyTeam, of which Delta is a founding member, the Latin American airline still remains unaligned with any alliance.