Following in the jet stream o Norwegian, it is now the turn of Virgin Atlantic to announce direct flights between the UK and Brazil. In this case a daily service as of 2020 from London Heathrow to São Paulo using the Boeing 787-9, Dreamliner, with an Upper Class, Premium and Economy Delight, Classic and Light offering.
This will be Virgin’s first South American route and it will join British Airways and LATAM Airlines in flying the London-São Paulo route direct, making Heathrow a very competitive hub to travel to-and-from Brazil and the rest of the south of South America.
Norwegian is scheduled to start flying direct to-and-from Rio de Janeiro and London Gatwick as of 31 March 2019. Norwegian will also use the Dreamliner. Briitish Airways also offers a daily direct service from London Heathrow to Rio de Janeiro.
LATAM Airline will launch the first route connecting Israel and Latin America with a new flight from Tel Aviv to Santiago (Chile), via São Paulo (Brazil), as of December. There will be three weekly flights by Boeing 787 aircraft offering 217 economy seats and 30 in premium business.
For 2018 the airline has announced a further 14 international routes that include flights to Rome from São, Paulo, which began in March as well as new operations to Las Vegas (June), Boston (July), Lisbon, and from Fortaleza, in the Brazilian northeast, to Orlando, Florida.
The first scheduled nonstop flights to Las Vegas from Brazil will begin 2 June 2018 with services every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. The initial seasonal service will operate through 30 September 2018. The route will then return on 15 December 2018 through 28 February 2019.
Brazil represents Las Vegas’seventh strongest overseas market and is the greatest source of international visitors from South America, with more than 150,000 Brazilians visiting annually.
LAN and TAM Airlines have opened new VIP Lounge in Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago, Chile. The new lounge is thought to be the largest in South America , offering a sleeping area, showers and entertainment rooms as well as areas serving food and beverages.
With a design inspired – like the LATAM lounge in São Paulo – by South American culture and natural heritage, the lounge features natural materials, such as marble, onyx and leather, with colours and details that represent the region.
The new lounge is located on the 4th and 5th floors of the western sector of Santiago’s international airport, with direct access from the LAN and TAM check-in area.
Like the lounge in São Paulo, the new Santiago lounge is available to all clients travelling in Premium Business on LAN, TAM or any oneWorld alliance airline, and those traveling in LAN’s Premium Economy class. Members of the top categories in the LANPASS loyalty program (Black, Comodoro, Premium Silver), TAM Fidelidade (Black, Vermelho Plus, Vermelho) and respective oneWorld categories (Emerald, Sapphire) can also enjoy the lounge space. Members of the LAN and TAM Black, Emerald and Sapphire categories along with oneworld and World Member clients have the right to bring a guest.
The new international Terminal 3 has opened at São Paulo’s main Guarulhos Airport that is located close to Arena de São Paulo where the opening game of the 2014 World Cup will take place on 12 June.
The first airlines to move into the new 12 million capacity terminal – that has 20 gates – were TAP and Lufthansa on 12 May. They were to be followed by six further international carriers in the coming three weeks.
After the World Cup another 17 companies will move into the new terminal with the Brazilian carrier, TAM, the last to move in September 2014. At that point, further modernisation will take place at terminals One and Two.
By 2022 the entire airport is expected to have doubled its current annual capacity to 60 million passengers.
Brazil’s TAM airlines and Chile’s LAN Airlines have merged to form the LATAM Airlines Group. The new group offers passengers more flights to more destinations than any other affiliated group of airlines in South America, initially reaching around 150 destinations in 22 countries and transporting cargo to 169 destinations in 27 countries.
“The creation of this group of airlines is an opportunity to take South America to the world and to allow us to position ourselves to operate in an increasingly competitive environment due to the continuing consolidation of the global airline industry,” said Enrique Cueto, Executive Vice President-CEO of LATAM Airlines Group.
Among the benefits that passengers of both TAM and LAN will see over time are increased connectivity, improved routes and frequencies, and reduced connection times. Additionally members of the airlines’ frequent flyer programs, LANPASS and TAM Fidelidade, will be able to earn and redeem kilometres/points over the complete route networks of LAN and TAM.