LATAM Airlines Group (“LATAM”), the leading airline group in Latin America is on schedule to launch its first international route to Africa in the second half of 2016. It will offer three weekly flights between O.R. Tambo International in Johannesburg, South Africa and Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, Brazil, which is the airline’s main hub and entry door to 115 destinations in the region.

 

LATAM expects to open flights, operating a Boeing 767, for booking in May 2016. “South Africa is a strategic base for us in Africa and we plan to grow through demonstrating our commitment here, just as we have done in Latin America. This move is important to us over the long-term as we want to work with South Africans to strengthen connections between our continents,” said Martin Modarelli, Commercial Director UK, Nordic Countries and Africa for LATAM Airlines.

 

LATAM Airlines Group was formed through the association of LAN and TAM, airlines with 85 and 38 years of success respectively. In 2014, LAN and TAM were elected in the categories “Best Airline in South America” and “Best Service in South America” in the World Airline Survey; and in 2015, LAN was chosen as the best airline in South America in the Skytrax World Airline Awards, for the second consecutive year.

 

Today LATAM has 323 aircraft, comprising 11 different models and with an average age of seven years, which fly 1 500 flights per day. “We fly to 135 destinations in 24 countries and carry cargo to 26 countries around the world,” explained Modarelli. “Our 52 000 staff serve 68 million passengers every year.

 

Over and above our 115 destinations in Latin America, it connects passengers to Europe, United States, the Caribbean and Oceania. The group was also the first in the Americas to offer flights on the world’s two most modern aircraft: The Airbus A350 XWB and the Boeing 787. The LATAM fleet is a young, safe and advanced fleet – the most award-winning in its continent.

 

The Boeing 767, which is expected to be used for the new international route, has 221 seats with 30 seats in Premium Business Class and 191 in Economy Class travel. “Our Premium Business Class offers passengers a seat that reclines fully to a length of 182 centimeters and presents in-flight entertainment on a 15.4-inch touch screen. The 2-3-2 Economy Class seating arrangement gives long-haul travellers a better feeling of extra space,” said Modarelli.

 

As an alliance partner of oneworld, members of the LATAM PASS and the LATAM Fidelidade frequent flyer programs earn and redeem kilometres or points when flying throughout the network. They gain access to priority check-in, over 950 destinations and more than 600 VIP lounges worldwide.

 

He commented that LATAM is also proud to be the first airline group in Latin America – and the second in the world – to enter the Dow Jones World Sustainability Index, for the second consecutive year. Through the Index, the company was acknowledged for its economic performance, social responsibility and environmental management.

 

“Africa and Latin America have massive potential in business and leisure travel. At LATAM we believe that people are driven by their goals and dreams. To reach them, exploring new horizons and flying further is a must. That’s why we love to fly, to create connections that expand worlds and this newest connection is one that we look forward to building up,” concluded Modarelli.

 

LATAM Airlines Group will be represented in Africa by Border Air and can be contacted by calling +27 11 326 4440 or via email at latam@border-air.co.za.

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