Starting this month LATAM Brasil will make operational changes to its South African flights by replacing a Boeing 767-300ER with a newer Airbus A350-900XWB. This is according to information shared by Routes Online.
Currently, LATAM Airlines are the only Latin American airline company offering direct flights between Brazil and the African continent.
LATAM Brasil began flights to South Africa in 2016
LATAM Brasil started flying from Guarulhos International Airport in Sao Paulo to O. R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg in 2016.
When first introducing LATAM’s new flight from Brazil to South Africa, President of LATAM Airlines Brazil, Claudia Sender told Airways Magazine,
“We strive to take our customers further and with this new Johannesburg service we will connect four continents and passengers on both sides of the Atlantic. This flight marks the first new international service outside of Latin America since the launch of the LATAM brand in April, which will connect two regions that have much to offer to tourists and business travelers alike.”
LATAM Brasil offered five weekly flights to Johannesburg
The initial five times weekly flight was aboard a Boeing 767-300ER fitted out with 220 seats.
The seating configuration comprised 30 passengers in premium business class and 190 passengers in economy.
Flight time aboard the 767-300ER from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg is 10 hours and 20 minutes.
The return leg of the trip between Johannesburg and Sao Paulo takes a longer 11 hours and 25 minutes.
With the economic recovery in Brazil doing better than expected, the commercial aviation market is expecting a larger demand for flights than the previously anticipated.
Passenger numbers on the Sao Paulo-Johannesburg route have risen to such a degree that LATAM Brasil has decided to put one of its larger Airbus A350s on the route adding a further 129 seats to the flight.
The A350 will cut the flight time by one hour and 30 minutes
Putting the A350 on the route will also cut one hour and 30 minutes off the previous flight time.
The Airbus A350 is one of LATAM Brasil’s most fuel-efficient planes as well as one of the newest, adding the latest in inflight entertainment and comfort.
According to LATAM Brasil, the Sao Paulo-Johannesburg flight is mostly full of Brazilian, Argentinian, Chilean and South African passengers. The airline also confirmed to Atlantico Online that they were mainly tourists visiting Africa on vacation.
The leisure travel segment continues to see growth with the first half of 2019 outperforming the previous year’s numbers. Overall sales are up 20% fuelled mostly by Brazilian holidaymakers taking advantage of deals advertised by the LATAM Travel Agency, a part of the same group.
In the LATAM Group, vacations to South Africa are responsible for an increase in sales for so-called “exotic destinations” and have been prioritized in the airlines South American advertising campaigns.
By Mark Finlay