The only Latin-American airline company offering non-stop flights to the African continent, LATAM Airlines positively evaluates the results of the operation for Johannesburg. Since October 2016, the airline has connected Guarulhos International Airport, in the State of São Paulo, to O. R. Tambo International Airport, in the South African city.
Latam started flying to Johannesburg five times weekly. However, when the airline started offering daily flights between São Paulo and the South African city during February and March of this year, it reached the occupancy rates expected by the airline. Thus, to the good results, the airline will operate five weekly flights flying the Airbus A350, seating 349 passengers starting in August 2019. Currently, the company uses the Boeing 767, which seats 221 passengers.
That change will reduce the flight time by 1h30 each way of the trip. The Airbus A350 is also one of the most efficient fleets of the airline in fuel consumption, as well as the most modern and provides greater assurance for the best passenger experience.
According to the airline, the Guarulhos-Johannesburg flight is made up mostly by passengers from Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, and Chile. Latam also confirmed that the main motivator for the trips on this route is tourism. This segment has shown strong growth in the first semester of 2019, compared to the same period from the previous year.
The overall sales to Johannesburg increased by about 20% in the first quarter of 2019, mainly impelled by the Brazilian market. The sale of tourist package deals to South Africa also represents a sizable income for the LATAM Travel Agency, part of the same group.
Since the announcement of the route, South Africa has been the theme of many advertising campaigns created by the LATAM Airlines Group, which seeks to present to the public the most diverse tourism possibilities the country offers. In the LATAM Group, South Africa is responsible for the greater volume of sales of so-called “exotic destinations” and therefore has priority in its communication, with a recurring presence in the campaigns and promotions of the company, both in Brazil and Chile.
In January 2019, Royal Air Maroc, the Moroccan airline company entered in the One World alliance, and LATAM participates in that. That entry is going to grant LATAM passengers in South America access to Morocco and other countries in Northern Africa and provide more facility and cut down on travel time. Currently, these passengers needed to travel to Europe and then take a connecting flight to Northern Africa from other partnering airline companies. LATAM customers can still utilize their fidelity program in the Moroccan airline company network, as well as accumulate points and miles from their trips with the new partner.