British Airways (BA) has announced plans to introduce the only non-stop flight between the UK and Chile. The flag carrier airline of the UK said the route between London Heathrow and Santiago, Chile's capital and largest city, will be served by its newest aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
The move is part of BA's expansion strategy into South America — in April, BA started flights to South American countries, Peru and Costa Rica. The move also follows International Airlines Group (IAG), the London-listed parent of BA, signing a co-operation deal with Latam Airlines of Chile in January. IAG had then explained that both the carriers will increase the number of destinations they fly to "significantly" as the deal will see the carriers increase their existing codeshare agreements.
The London-Santiago route will become BA's longest direct route and will take 14 hours 40 minutes, one-way. While this will run four times a week, introductory prices are expected to start at £749 (€974, $1092) for a return economy ticket and £1,999 for a return business class ticket.
This is BA's first direct flight to the South American country. However, between 1993 and 2000, it flew there as a "tag-on" from Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital. BA said it expects the new route to get good demand from both tourists and business clientele.
Alex Cruz, chief executive at BA, said, "In recent years we have been increasing our services to South and Central America, reflecting the area's continued growth in both business and tourism. This year we've already launched flights to Costa Rica and Peru, and the addition of Santiago will secure another important link between the UK and the region.
"The Chilean economy has been steadily growing, with increasing trade links to Europe, so this new direct route will respond to the need for travel between the two capital cities to do business face-to-face. Equally, Chile is of enormous appeal to leisure travelers, especially those looking for adventure, exploration and experiences, thanks to its outstanding and diverse natural beauty and attractions and its great food and wine", Cruz added.