Sky Airline Plans U.S. Routes Using A321XLRs
Sky Airline has taken its first steps toward entering the U.S. market by applying to the U.S. Transportation Department (DOT) for authority to launch nonstop routes from Chile.
The Santiago-based carrier initially intends to serve the North American country by placing its H2 code on affiliate Sky Airline Peru’s existing flights to the U.S., which commenced in June 2022 from Lima to Miami. However, the longer-term goal is to open routes from Chile using its fleet of 10 ultra-long-range Airbus A321XLR aircraft on order.
The application to the DOT says Sky Airline’s entry to the market will “provide additional travel opportunities to U.S. citizens and visitors to the United States, further the interests of comity and reciprocity, and benefit travelers and shippers in both countries.”
The market between Chile and the U.S. is served by four operators at present, which collectively offer 48 weekly flights and some 26,000 two-way weekly seats. Sky Airline’s entry would see it become the sole provider of low-cost service.
According to data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser, LATAM Airlines Group has a 45.6% capacity share of the market in December 2023, offering three routes from Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL) to Los Angeles International Airport, New York John F. Kennedy International Airport and Miami International Airport (MIA).
American Airlines serves SCL from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and MIA, while Delta Air Lines provides flights to Chile’s capital from its Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport hub. United Airlines also flies to SCL from Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Sky Airline launched commercial service in 2002 and has grown to operate a network of some 48 routes spanning seven countries at present. Peru is the LCC’s largest international market, followed by Argentina and Brazil.
The airline has been an Airbus customer since 2010 and became an all-Airbus operator in 2013. Its fleet comprises 25 A320neos and four A321neos, with a further 10 A321XLRs on order.
Although Sky Airline’s request to the DOT does not outline the destinations in the U.S. it intends to serve, the 5,409-mi. (4,700-nm) range of the A321XLR would enable nonstop flights from SCL to the likes of New York and Atlanta, as well as cities in Florida.
Sabre Market Intelligence figures show that O&D traffic between Chile and the U.S. totaled about 802,000 two-way passengers during 2022, representing a decrease of around 18% compared with 2019 levels. Miami-Santiago was the top city pair last year, followed by New York-Santiago and Orlando, Florida-Santiago.