LATAM Airlines has resumed services to Auckland and Sydney following a 24-month interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chilean carrier serves the route from Santiago's Arturo Merino Benítez international airport using Boeing 787-900 aircraft three times a week.
Flight LA801 departs from the Chilean capital Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and flight LA800 returns Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, with an aim to increase the service to five times a week by July, according to company sources.
After a brief stopover in Auckland, flight LA801 landed in Sydney at 6.10 am local time Wednesday, marking the first service from Chile in over two years.
LATAM's country manager for New Zealand and Australia Chris Ellis said it was an emotional morning, full of much-delayed arrivals at both airports.
We're beyond delighted to reconnect Australia and New Zealand with South America after two years, he said.
We know that many of our passengers have been patiently waiting a long time for flights to resume so they can not only be reunited with loved ones but also travel to destinations they've been dreaming about, Ellis added.
The airline also insisted passengers should check with their countries of destination about the COVID-19 sanitary measures in force before boarding these long-haul flights.