LATAM is cutting services through Auckland, and reducing travel options for Kiwis. LATAM is a South American Aviation Company and its going to stop some of its services in the end of October from Sydney to Santiago three times a week, instead of stopping over in Auckland on those days.
Latam did not disclose this news right now but the aviation company said that they will focus on New Zealand.Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport’s general manager of aeronautical commercial, said Latam was changing the way it serves the Oceania region.
One reason for the stopover was due to the range of aircraft.Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft can fly upto 11,340km non stop.We were the midpoint, and now we’re being overflown to serve the Sydney market direct.More than half the passengers flying on to Chile were from Australia so it made financial sense to Latam.
Tasker added “From a financial perspective for Auckland Airport it is not a material impact” said Tasker
Passengers to and from South America (including transits) made up less than 2 per cent of more than 11 million international passengers through the airport.It’s unfortunate that won’t see Latam here every day but we’re pleased to see they will use a four per week service.
He said Latam, although a very big airline, was facing pressure in its regional market due to economic weakness and volatility in Brazil and Argentina in particular.It’s a tough business there at the moment. They have to be very nimble in making decisions to optimize the profitability of their business.
In the year to April arrivals from Argentina – served directly by Air New Zealand and indirectly by Latam – were down from 23,000 arrivals to 16,500.Latam also faced greater competition from Qantas to South America as it retired its Boeing 747 jumbo jets and brought in more of the smaller and more efficient Dreamliners.
This could allow the Australian airline to fly more frequently.Auckland has been positioning itself as a stopover point or hub between southern Asia and South America. Tasker said Latam’s decision to overfly Auckland and improving aircraft technology didn’t weaken that proposition. Airlines still needed to stop off somewhere between the two parts of the world.
Helloworld group general manager Simon Mckearney said the retraction of Latam’s service was not a demand issue as South America had been strong for his firm. Latam do have good very good connectivity in South America and this move appears to be right sizing ex-New Zealand.
He said the Tasman was ”a tough gig any day of the week” for airlines competing hard, so he didn’t expect the loss of the flights to affect prices although Latam is often the cheapest in the market with last-minute fares.