LATAM To Restore Peru-UK Connectivity
Nonstop flights between Peru and the UK are set to be restored after LATAM Airlines Group announced its intention to enter the market.
Commencing on Dec. 2, the airline will inaugurate a route linking Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) in Peru's capital, Lima, with London Heathrow Airport (LHR). This service is scheduled to operate five times per week using Boeing 787-9 aircraft, capable of accommodating up to 300 passengers.
With a flight duration of about 12 hr., the 6,307-mi. (5,481-nm) route will increase LATAM’s UK schedule to 12 weekly flights, adding to its existing daily operation between São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) and Heathrow.
LATAM secured 220 slots for the winter 2023-24 season service in June and will become the sole carrier to connect Peru and the UK once operations begin. British Airways (BA) previously offered LHR-LIM nonstop between August 2018 and October 2019, and again October 2021 to February 2022. However, the route has been unserved since the Oneworld alliance member left the market.
The new service will offer codeshare opportunities between Chile-headquartered LATAM and the UK’s Virgin Atlantic, which unveiled a partnership in January 2022. This agreement initially covered LATAM’s LHR-GRU service, as well as onward connections to 12 domestic airports in Brazil, and has since been expanded to include destinations from Colombia and Peru to the U.S.
Additionally, LATAM will also be able to offer connections from its LIM hub to domestic cities and to points in neighboring countries that are unserved from the UK, such as Bolivia and Ecuador. Peruvian passengers traveling to London will also benefit from visa rules introduced last November allowing them to visit the UK for a period of up to six months.
According to Sabre Market Intelligence data, O&D traffic between Peru and the UK totaled 71,000 two-way passengers in 2022, compared with 107,000 when BA offered nonstop flights in 2019. The wider Peru-Europe market attracted 1.22 million passengers last year, with Spain accounting for about 41% of traffic.
Cargo is also likely to be a factor in LATAM’s decision to start Peru-UK service. The UK joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in July 2023, becoming one of 12 members, alongside Peru. It is expected the agreement will simplify import and export processes between the UK and Peru.
The LIM-LHR service will become LATAM’s 11th route to Europe and second from Peru. The carrier flies from LIM to Madrid (MAD) and from GRU to Barcelona, Spain (BCN); Frankfurt; Lisbon, Portugal; LHR; MAD; Milan Malpensa; Paris Charles de Gaulle; and Rome Fiumicino. The airline also offers service from Santiago, Chile, to MAD. It also served LIM-BCN and Guayaquil, Ecuador-MAD before the pandemic.