Latam Airlines returns to Oceania  two years after a two-year pause

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South American airline Latam is resuming services to Australia and New Zealand in March, two years after it suspended the service because of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously the government-controlled Air New Zealand provided strong competition for this popular route but financial troubles struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic meant it curtailing most non-domestic routes leaving Latam to fill the void.

Latam Oceania country manager Chris Ellis said it would resume flights from Sydney to Santiago, via Auckland, on March 29, servicing the route with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

The Chile-headquartered airline would operate the flights three times a week and look to increase the schedule to five flights weekly from July 1, he said.

“We look forward to recommencing flights between Australia, New Zealand and Chile and once again connecting passengers with all of the adventures and beauty that South America has to offer,” Ellis said.

The Government has a five-stage plan for reopening New Zealand’s border, starting on February 28 2020 when eligible travellers from Australia will be allowed to return to New Zealand and self-isolate for seven days on arrival.

At step four, earmarked for July at the latest, travellers from countries that did not normally require a visa, could start visiting, with the need to self-isolate.

Ellis said passengers starting and ending their journey in Australia, who were not eligible to enter New Zealand, would transit only through New Zealand until restrictions were lifted.

Latam paused services between Auckland and Santiago at the end of March 2020, at the same time airlines around the world were suspending services and grounding aircraft as the spread of Covid-19 and international border closures caused international travel to grind to a halt.

Since then Latam had coordinated a couple of repatriation flights to New Zealand from South America, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ellis said.

Latam has been totally restructured after suffering financial troubles resulting in bankruptcy and is on a strong growth path again.

Here are the top airlines in Latin America for the category Best Airline.

  • Copa Airlines. 79.0% “I have not flown on such a nice well organized airline like Copa!” …
  • Avianca. 78.4% …
  • Aeromexico. 75.3% …
  • Azul. 75.0% …
  • Aerolineas Argentinas. 74.9% …
  • GOL. 74.9% …
  • LATAM Airlines. 72.1%

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