LATAM Airlines is reconnecting Ecuador with Argentina via Peru after a 31-month suspension of the route due to COVID-19. The daily service will be operated by LATAM Ecuador and begin on October 30.
LATAM Airlines Ecuador flight XL1450 will depart Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) at 18:55, operated by an Airbus A319-100, and arrive in Peru at Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM) at 21:10. There is a 2:30 hour stopover in Lima before reboarding for the flight to Argentina’s Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport (EZE), arriving at 06:05 the following day. The return flight XL1449 departs Buenos Aires at 07:15 and, after a 2:30 hour stopover in Lima, arrives in Quito at 14:48. According to ch-aviation.com, LATAM Ecuador has a fleet of six Airbus A319-100s, with an average age of 13.4 years. The A319s are configured in an all-economy 144-seat layout.
LATAM Ecuador is increasing frequencies and adding new routes
LATAM Group is adding A320neos to its airlines, most recently to LATAM Brazil. Photo: Airbus
When the new service starts, LATAM Group will increase services between Buenos Aires and Lima from 21 to 28 weekly flights. LATAM Peru currently operates three daily flights on that leg of the route. Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism, as carried by aviationonline.com, reports that Argentina is one of the primary sources of tourists from Latin America to Ecuador. In 2019, 36,141 passengers arrived in Ecuador from Argentina.
The bilateral air services agreement between Ecuador and Argentina contemplates a limit of seven weekly frequencies per direction. The agreement has not changed since 2005 and allows adding another seven weekly services using fifth-freedom rights, such as with stopovers in Santiago de Chile or Lima. The agreement also provides for flights that begin in the United States, Mexico or Panama and then continue to Argentina. LATAM Ecuador is part of the LATAM Airlines Group, which has airlines in Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Peru.
LATAM Group now has 100 A320neos on order
LATAM has confirmed the A321XLR will join its fleet, as part of a Farnborough Airshow order for 17 more A320neo family aircraft. Image: Airbus
At last month’s Farnborough Airshow, LATAM ordered 17 Airbus A321neos and confirmed it would introduce the A321XLR into its fleet, although it detailed no timeline or aircraft numbers. LATAM Group now has 100 A320neos on order, to be delivered between 2022 and 2028, with the long-range A321XLRs likely to support international routes in Oceania, the US and the Caribbean. The aircraft has a range of 4,700 nautical miles (7,400 kilometers) and a flight time of around eleven hours. The A321neo is the largest in the A320neo family, and its new generation engines and Sharklets deliver more than 20% fuel and CO2 savings, plus a 50% noise reduction.
LATAM Ecuador has also filed a request with the General Directorate of Civil Aviation to modify its operating permit for regular domestic passenger, cargo and mail air transport services. The airline wants to add a total of 41 new frequencies, with the largest increases on routes from Quito (UIO) to Cuenca (CUE), Guayaquil (GYE) and Bogotá (BOG), Colombia. The domestic route between Quito and Cuenca Mariscal Lamar International Airport (CUE) is a new one, and if approved, LATAM Ecuador will operate services five times per week. The airline also wants to increase services to Colombia’s Bogotá El Dorado International Airport, the second busiest in South America, from five to 14 weekly frequencies.
Will the route from Quito to Buenos Aires via Lima be popular?