LATAM touches down in Melbourne

LATAM flight LA805 arrives in Melbourne from Santiago. (Victor Pody)
LATAM flight LA805 arrives in Melbourne from Santiago. (Victor Pody)

LATAM Airlines says its new Melbourne-Santiago nonstop service will offer travellers from this part of the world more convenient connections to South America and beyond.

The three-times-a-week offering kicked off on Friday, when LA805, operated by Boeing 787-9 CC-BGN, touched down at Tullamarine a little after 1830, following a near 15-hour journey from Santiago.

The aircraft, which features 30 business class and 54 extra legroom economy and 220 economy seats for a total of 304, was on the ground for about two and a half hours before operating the reciprocal LA804 to Santiago.

Melbourne is LATAM’s third destination in Oceania. The oneworld alliance member and Qantas codeshare partner also operates a daily Sydney-Auckland-Santiago service with the Dreamliner.

While its Sydney flight takes off at lunchtime, it has scheduled an evening departure for the new Melbourne service, which LATAM director of business development in Victoria Nicholas Aquilina says gives travellers more flexibility when planning their travels to South America.

“The concern from Adelaide or Melbourne people arriving into Sydney is if there is any delay,” Aquilina told Australian Aviation in an interview.

“With this flight it provides that option, you’ve got all day to get to Melbourne.”

Announced in December 2016, LATAM’s Melbourne-Santiago flight is the only nonstop link between Melbourne and South America. In addition to transiting via Sydney, Air New Zealand has been targeting Australia travellers heading to the Americas, where it serves Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and Houston, with attractive fares and widebody to widebody connections via its Auckland hub.

Aquilina said bookings on its Melbourne flight have tracked in line with expectations since the launch.

The new service is supported by a codeshare arrangement with Qantas, where the Australian carrier has added its QF airline code on LATAM’s Melbourne-Santiago service. Qantas already codeshares on the LATAM’s Sydney-Auckland-Santiago flight.

LATAM also adds its LA airline code on Qantas’s nonstop Sydney-Santiago flight, which runs between three and five times a week, depending on the time of the year.

“They will buy block seats from our utilisation and vice versa,” Aquilina explained.

“We buy block seats on the Qantas-operated flight as well. The Melbourne-Santiago flight is set up now that way.”

LATAM also has codeshare arrangements with Qantas and Jetstar on domestic services to provide passenger feed for its flights.

Aquilina said Peru (with the historic Machu Piccu as the major drawcard) was the most popular destination for Australians travelling on LATAM to South America, followed by Chile, Brazil and Colombia.

There was also a growing number of travellers choosing to visit popular Central American destinations such as Havana in Cuba, via Santiago.

Aquilina said the LA804’s evening arrival into Santiago from Melbourne allowed for short, same-day connections to Lima (Peru), Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Flight Number/Routing
Days of operation
Time of departure
Time of arrival

LA804 Melbourne-Santiago
Flight time: 13hrs5mins

Tuesday, Friday, Sunday

20:40

19:55

LA805 Santiago-Melbourne
Flight time: 15hrs

Monday, Thursday, Saturday

13:30

17:40+1

Source: LATAM Airlines

Comments

  1. Nick says

    The timing for this route is great for WA, hopefully its priced well aswell, otherwise i guess we will have to keep going VIA Abu Dhabi.