Johannesburg - LATAM airlines group has launched a direct flight between Latin America and South Africa, with the first plane on the new route landing at O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Monday afternoon.
The plane landed after a nine-hour journey from Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International airport.
“This is our first international service outside the continent after the launch of the LATAM brand. We are connecting two strategic regions that have a lot to offer to both tourists and business travelers,” said Claudia Sender, president of LATAM Airlines Brazil.
“We strive to take our customers farther and, in this respect, the service to Johannesburg inaugurates the fourth continent to receive the airline’s operations, connecting passengers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.”
LATAM is the leading airline group in Latin America with 115 destinations as well as connections to Europe, United States, the Caribbean and Oceania. It will offer three weekly flights between OR Tambo International in Johannesburg, South Africa and Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, Brazil.
In South America, the new flight will connect with destinations such as Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires and other Brazilian cities. The airline said South Africa passport holders will benefit from visa-free travel throughout most of Latin America.
The airline will offer alternative connectivity to North American destinations for South Africa, as opposed to transits through the likes of Europe, the UK or Dubai.
During the route launch at the airport, LATAM’s airlines group managing director, Rodrigo Contreras said it would the company’s international presence as well as its ambition to become one of the top three airline groups in the world.
“Our business is about moving people and their dreams from one part of the world to another. Our challenging is enhancing Johannesburg as the main getaway to boost the massive opportunity that the connection between our two regions represents.”
Contreras explained that they chose to operate at O.R.Tambo because the airport is one of the gateways to Africa and surrounding regions with easy connections to tourist destinations such as Mauritius, the Seychelles and Maldives.
The airline expects to use the Boeing 767-900 for the Johannesburg international route, which has 221 seats with 30 seats in Premium Business Class and 191 in Economy Class travel.