When Will Direct Connectivity Between Oceania And South America Resume

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 176 monthly flights between Oceania and South America, operated by LATAM Airlines Group, Air New Zealand, and Qantas. Nevertheless, the crisis and travel restrictions have halted these routes for almost three years now. When will they resume?

Connectivity in 2019

Three years ago, there were several routes offered between South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Tahiti. LATAM Airlines Group had the most significant offer from its hub at Santiago International Airport (SCL).

According to data provided by Cirium, LATAM operated the following routes:

  1. Santiago de Chile-Auckland-Sidney
  2. Santiago de Chile-Melbourne
  3. Easter Island-Papeete.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand operated flights between Auckland and Buenos Aires (Ezeiza), and Qantas connected Sidney with Santiago de Chile.

LATAM operated these routes using its Boeing 787-9 fleet; Air New Zealand used the Boeing 777-200 and 777-200ER, while Qantas employed the ‘Queen of the Skies,’ the Boeing 747-400.

LATAM Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner CC-BGM

LATAM could resume its flights to New Zealand and Australia later this year. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

When will the routes resume?

Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic puts a temporary end to these routes. There has been no direct connectivity between South America and Oceania since 2019. That may change shortly, though.

According to some sources with knowledge on the subject, LATAM Airlines Group was expected to resume its route to Auckland and Sidney in March, but it may delay it until April.

In the next few weeks, LATAM will have a meeting with authorities from Australia and New Zealand, and after that, the airline may officially announce when the route will resume. Regarding the routes Santiago-Melbourne, Santiago-Sidney (without the stopover in Auckland), and Easter Island-Papeete, there is no information at the moment.

LATAM would not jump back to operate one daily flight on the route. It would gradually increase the connectivity as demand resumes.

Air New Zealand is set to relaunch 24 international routes in 2022, following the Government’s five-step reopening plan. Nevertheless, the route between Auckland and Buenos Aires is not among the 24 chosen ones. Therefore, Air New Zealand will not fly to South America in 2022.

Finally, Qantas has not provided any new information regarding the subject. The airline currently has scheduled to fly to Santiago starting on March 27, though the most likely scenario is that it will delay resuming the route. Moreover, Qantas used to heavily rely on its former oneworld partner, LATAM to provide with codeshare passengers; anyway, LATAM exited oneworld in 2020. Simple Flying reached Qantas but, at the moment of publishing this article, had received no answer. We’ll keep you updated if that changes.

Qantas Boeing 747-438(ER) VH-OEI (15)

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

What can we expect?

Unfortunately, it seems like South America and Oceania will not regain their pre-COVID connectivity in 2022. LATAM appears to be the airline most interested in resuming its route to New Zealand and Australia.

However, there is no official information yet. On the bright side, all these countries (Argentina, Australia, Chile, and New Zealand) are opening their borders after being closed and imposing severe travel restrictions in the last two years.

LATAM is currently operating at 66% of its pre-pandemic capacity, according to a statement issued yesterday.

Air New Zealand is scheduling 9,936 flights in February 2022, 34.6% below its pre-pandemic capacity. Qantas has 13,352 flights scheduled this month, 34.8% below its pre-pandemic levels. Earlier this week, Qantas revisited its international schedules and flagged some start dates for route resumptions after the local Government announced vaccinated travelers will be able to visit the country.

Did you fly in the past with LATAM, Qantas, or Air New Zealand between Oceania and Latin America? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below.


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