The commercial air link between Punta Arenas, southern Chile, and the Falkland Islands resumed last Saturday after an absence of more than two years because of the Covid 19 pandemic.
The LATAM flight under captain Andres Perez, left Punta Arenas with 21 passengers and returned from the Falklands with 41.
We are proud of being part of this crew after two years and eight months absence. Many happy faces and applause when we landed again in Chile, said Captain Perez.
Chilean authorities mounted a special counter to deal with documents and sanitary issues. In effect many Chileans returning to their country from the Falklands had expired passports and documents. During the two years plus, they were unable to leave the Islands, and Argentina at last moment denied a humanitarian flight that was supposed to help the Chilean community working in the Islands.
Antonio Kaiser, from the Chilean foreign ministry explained that it is our purpose to help our citizens who live outside the country. Because of the pandemic, many have been unable to visit Chile, so we are working as fast as possible to update their documents so they can travel back to the Islands. The Civil Registrar office is also working with the birth certificate of a two year old child, so we can extend him an ID.
Another option for Chileans, and Peruvian fishermen, was to fly to Britain and from there back to South America. However some didn't have the proper documents to reach UK, and for most of the few that could have flown, it was far out of their budgets.
Latam flight LA984 left MPC at 13:57, Chilean time and arrived in Punta Arenas at 15:30. The LATAM weekly flight to the Falklands leaves Santiago early morning on Saturdays and returns mid afternoon to Punta Arenas. Once a month it stops over in Rio Gallegos, Argentina. (Source LPA)