LATAM Airlines Group has inaugurated its non-stop service between Santiago, Chile and Melbourne, Australia.
The carrier becomes the only airline to connect Latin America with the Victorian capital.
The westbound flight (Santiago-Melbourne) is over 11,000 km long and will last 15 hours, making it the longest flight in LATAM’s history.
The company will operate three flights per week between the two cities.
“We are proud to be the only airline to offer a non-stop connection between Latin America and Melbourne.
“This new route provides a great opportunity for more people from Australia and Asia-Pacific to visit our region as well as strengthen ties between Latin America and the two regions.
“With the new Melbourne service, LATAM not only demonstrates its commitment to Australia and Asia-Pacific, but also to offering unrivalled connectivity to, from and within Latin America,” said Enrique Cueto, chief executive, LATAM Airlines Group.
“We continue to develop our network of destinations and by the end of 2017; we will have launched 13 new routes, principally strengthening connectivity between the countries of the region.”
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.
Each year, LATAM transports approximately 190,000 passengers between Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
With the new service, LATAM estimates that it will transport an additional 77,000 passengers between the two continents each year.
“Australia and Chile have much in common.
“Our countries share many of the same opportunities and challenges and there is much more to be done together.
“Direct flights between Santiago and Melbourne will help strengthen our cooperation and the links between our businesses, universities and communities,” commented Robert Fergusson, Australian ambassador to Chile.