BY JAMES WILKINSON
Qantas has launched flights to the Chilean capital Santiago in a re-jig of its South American network aimed at capturing a greater share of business and leisure traffic alike.
The Flying Kangaroo’s non-stop Sydney-Santiago services have replaced flights to Buenos Aires and according to Qantas’ Group Executive – Commercial, Rob Gurney, the new Boeing 747-400 flights will offer better connections than previously offered.
“Santiago is one of South America’s most dynamic business centres and provides excellent connections to the rest of the continent,” Gurney said.
“There are strong ties between Australia and South America, with growing visitor numbers, mutual investment and an Australia-Chile free trade agreement in place.
“Flying to Santiago is part of Qantas’ strategy to target global gateway cities. South America’s fast-growing economies make it the perfect time to introduce this new, non-stop service to one of the region’s major hubs.
“It is also pleasing to be expanding our long-standing relationship with Chile’s national carrier, LAN.
“Together we will offer ten services per week between Sydney and Santiago and access to LAN’s extensive South American network,” he said.
As Gurney said, Qantas will continue to codeshare with LAN on flights from Sydney to Santiago via Auckland.
Qantas is also operating its newly reconfigured Boeing 747-400s – featuring refurbished Airbus A380-style cabins – on the Sydney-Santiago route.
Meanwhile, LAN has launched a sale to Santiago from Sydney, with prices starting from $1,744 return in economy class, including taxes.
The sale, which runs up until April 16, is available for departures from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to the South American cities of Santiago (Chile), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Lima (Peru) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
“We fly to over 80 destinations in 10 South American countries and these new fares are just an indication of what we can offer,” said LAN’s Managing Director Australia – New Zealand and Asia, Patricio Aylwin. “South America has never been closer.”
LAN’s airfares are available for departures ex-Australia from May 01 and October 31 and return travel must be completed by November 15.