Victoria is once again directly connected to South America with the continent’s largest airline, LATAM, resuming flights between Santiago and Melbourne.
The first direct flight from South America to Victoria since 2020 touched down at Melbourne Airport this morning, operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Flights will initially operate three times a week, departing Chile’s capital for the 11,000-kilometre journey across the Pacific Ocean on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to arrive in Melbourne the following day.
Services from Melbourne to Santiago depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, providing a direct link for passengers and Victorian exporters into Chile and beyond through LATAM’s extensive network.
Melbourne Airport’s single terminal precinct also means that residents of Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT now have the option of an easier transit to Latin America.
Melbourne Airport Chief Executive Officer Lorie Argus said LATAM’s return marked two important milestones for Victoria.
“The resumption of flights to Santiago restores our direct connection to South America and brings the number of international carriers flying into Melbourne back to pre-pandemic levels,” she said.
“Prior to Covid-19 we had 36 airlines operating international flights into Melbourne Airport and returning to that number has taken hard work from our team and the Victorian state government.
“LATAM’s return takes our overall international capacity back to 97% of pre-pandemic levels and by the end of the year we expect to be back at 100%.
“Our focus now is working with our airlines to expand their operation and explore new opportunities, so that passengers and exporters can benefit from competition and choice.”
Chris Ellis, LATAM Airlines Country Manager - Oceania, said the airline is excited to have taken up residence again at Melbourne Airport.
“Thanks to the support of Melbourne Airport and the Victorian Government, we can now meet the strong demand for travel to South America”, he said.
“LATAM is the leading airline in South America, serving more than 144 destinations and is a global leader in sustainability."