Chilean carrier LAN Airlines has announced that it will resume restricted international and domestic services on March 2 following damage to the Arturo Merino Benitez Airport at Santiago as a result of the earthquake experienced off the Chilean coast on February 27.
“The situation is far from normal operations. We are working to be able to resume just 15 per cent of our domestic and international operations,” said Ignacio Cueto, LAN’s president and chief operating officer.
The airport has been closed for some days after the earthquake due to internal damage, and the airline is now assisting to establish temporary tent facilities in order to allow some of its operations to resume. As with the earlier earthquake in Haiti, priority is expected to be given to humanitarian flights, while airline schedules are expected to resume later in the week, albeit with some adjustments.
LAN flights to Sydney and Auckland had been particularly affected by the closing of the airport, with the scheduled LA800 flight which departed Sydney on February 28 delayed at Auckland for a day as the airline awaited the reopening of the airport. As a result, outgoing services from Santiago to Auckland and Sydney over the following two days were cancelled.