Cape Town - Direct connectivity to South Africa is on the up and up as LATAM Airlines Group announced it intends to launch a direct flight between Latin America and Africa, starting October 2016.
LATAM, said to be the leading airline group in Latin America with 115 destinations as well as connections to Europe, United States, the Caribbean and Oceanian - will offer three weekly flights between OR Tambo International in Johannesburg, South Africa and Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, Brazil.
LATAM expects to open flights, operating a Boeing 767, for booking in May 2016.
“South Africa is a strategic base for us in Africa and we plan to grow through demonstrating our commitment here, just as we have done in Latin America,” said Martin Modarelli, Commercial Director UK, Nordic Countries and Africa for LATAM Airlines.
During a briefing at World Travel Market Africa 2016, taking place at the CTICC from 6 to 9 April, Modarelli said the key benefit was providing the convenience of connectivity to a destination that not only had a favourable currency exchange for South Africans but also had visa-free access for those wanting to connect to other South American destinations.
According to Modarelli, the airline is looking to launch with competitive flights prices, estimated at "R8 000 for flights only or an estimated R25 000 as part of a package".
"We plan to consult local operators and do the proper analysis locally in order to be competitive when we launch," said Modarelli.
Added to this LATAM, would offer alternative connectivity to North American destinations for South Africa, as opposed to transits through the likes of Europe, the UK or Dubai.
LATAM Airlines Group, formed through the association of LAN and TAM, airlines with 85 and 38 years of success respectively, has seen LAN chosen as the best airline in South America in the Skytrax World Airline Awards, for the second consecutive year.
LATAM has 323 aircraft, comprising 11 different models, with an average age of seven years, which fly 1 500 flights per day. The airline expects to use the Boeing 767 for the Joburg International route, which has 221 seats with 30 seats in Premium Business Class and 191 in Economy Class travel.
LATAM Airlines Group will be represented in Africa by Border Air and can be contacted by calling +27 11 326 4440 or via email at email@example.com.
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