LATAM Airlines, formerly LAN Airlines, inaugurated its non-stop flight between Lima and San José, Costa Rica. At 3:55 pm Tuesday, January 2, for the first time ever a LAN flight touched down at the Juan Santamaria international airport (SJO).
The airline will operate three flights weekly between the two cities, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Starting in March, it will add one additional flight weekly, on Saturdays.
Flight LA2408 departs Lima at 1:05 pm, arriving in San Jose at 3:55 pm. Flight time is 3 hours and 50 minutes. The return flight, LA2409, will take-off from San Jose at 5:15 pm and land in Lima at 8:05 pm. All times are local, there is an hour difference between San Jose and Lima.
Héctor Iriarte, general manager of Latam Airlines for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, said the inaugural flight with an Airbus A320 was full, 168 passengers and crew. Among the passengers were visitors from Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil.
“We have 8,500 seats sold since we announced the flight, in the middle of last year, in South America, this speaks of the good response it has had, people consider attractive the rates we have to know Central and South America,” said Iriarte.
“This new route is excellent news for tourism and connectivity in Latin America, and strengthens our unique network of destinations. Costa Rica is world-renowned for its diverse nature, landscapes and outdoor activities – and our passengers throughout the region will be able to access this destination with connections via our Lima hub,” said Enrique Cueto, chief executive of LATAM Airlines Group.
“In 2018, we will continue to strengthen connectivity in the region and Costa Rica is just the first of 24 new routes we have already announced for this year, which include Boston, Las Vegas, Rome and Lisbon.”
New Gateway to South America
Mauricio Ventura, Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism, explained that the arrival of Latam Airlines to Costa Rica represents a new gateway to South America, reaching markets that previously had no direct connection.
“We started the year in the best way, opening our horizons and venturing even further into South America, it is one of the hemisphere’s strongest airlines in both tourism and cargo, and we are honored that we have been chosen as the first destination in Central America,” he said. Fortune.
In recent years there has been an increase in new routes and airlines to the country as part of the response of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) to Avianca’s announcement to restructure its flights to Costa Rica.
Many in North American are not aware of LATAM. Founded on March 5, 1929 as Línea Aeropostal Santiago-Arica), renamed on June 17, 2005 as LAN Airlines. LATAM Airlines Group was formed after the takeover by LAN of Brazilian TAM Airlines, which was completed on June 22, 2012. In August 2015, it was announced that the two airlines would fully rebrand as LATAM, with one livery to be applied on all aircraft by 2018.
Currently, LAN and TAM continue to work as separate companies, under a common executive management. LATAM Airlines Group is currently the largest airline conglomerate in Latin America.
LATAM’s main hub is Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (Santiago, Chile), with secondary hubs in El Dorado (Bogota, Colombia), Jorge Chávez (Lima, Peru), José Joaquín de Olmedo (Guayaquil, Ecuador) and Jorge Newbery (Buenos Aires, Argentina) airports.
LATAM Airlines operates in 31 international, 17 domestic (Chile), 5 seasonal and 4 marketed destinations in 21 countries. When the airline takes delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner it will start flights to Washington D.C. and London-Heathrow. It is also considering starting flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Atlanta, Barcelona (starting in Dec. 2016), Milan, Zurich, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong. With the delivery of more Airbus A319s, Airbus A320s and new deliveries of the Airbus A321, it will start new destinations in South America.
On October 5, 2017, LATAM started a direct route between Santiago and Melbourne, Australia, a 15 hours (westbound) and 11,300 km flight. It is currently the southernmost commercially point-to-point flight. The flight’s great circle passes south of the Antarctic Circle, at a distance of approx 800 km off the Antarctic mainland. The flight numbers are LA805 (westbound) and LA806 (eastbound).