Lan Chile announced that as of December 18, its special rates system will be made extensive to all itineraries between Santiago and Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt, and the recently introduced test night flights to those cities will become definitive.
Last October Chile's main airline and flag carrier decided on a test period for special flights and discount rates to the two main extreme south destinations, Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt, which according to the company have proved an increase in traffic. November figures show that compared to a year ago and to previous months, traffic to Punta Arenas increased 15% and to Puerto Montt, 10%. "This represents a significant increase if we take into account the fact these destinations were loosing traffic. The policy has helped improve the situation, and given our commitment with the two regions, we decided to extend rates discounts, even in high season" said Jorge Vilches, Lan Domestic Routes general manager. Therefore, as of December 18, Lan flights to Punta Arenas will cost the approximate equivalent of 125 US dollars plus boarding tax and to Puerto Montt, 75 US dollars, plus boarding tax. "We're working to reach levels of efficiency that can help us offer better and more convenient prices to our customers, plus more alternatives and greater flexibility, so more people will choose to travel by air. We're proud of the excellent support from customers and we shall continue to work to provide a simple and fast system of lower rates", added Vilches. Since October Lan is operating a daily direct return flight to Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt from Santiago leaving at 23:55 hour and returning at 6:00 and 4:00 AM respectively. Meanwhile in Punta Arenas it was confirmed that beginning next December 28 and until March 4, Lan will be flying twice a week from Punta Arenas to Puerto Madryn in Argentina, which is the sea resort that attracts most tourists from southern Chile in the summer season, particularly February. Flights are scheduled for Thursdays and Sundays. Anticipating the success of Lan's initiative, Adrian Contreras head of the Tourism Office in Puerto Madryn said that next year flights could begin as early as July to coincide with the whales sightseeing season in Peninsula Valdes. "The air connection Punta Arenas/Puerto Madryn is a magnificent idea since by air it only takes hour and a half and by land, four days to cover the 1.000 miles", said Contreras who also underlined the business opportunities. "Tourist operators could easily provide a package that includes Punta Arenas, Ushuaia and Puerto Madryn, which is the heart of Patagonia, a very attractive tour for foreign visitors" said Contreras. Paola Contardo, head of the Lan regional office in Punta Arenas said rates to Puerto Madryn begin at 86 US dollars.