Latam Airlines Group announced its first service to Africa earlier this year, starting on October 2 with three weekly flights between Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport in Brazil. This is the airline’s first service outside the continent following the launch of the Latam brand.

Claudia Sender, President of Latam Airlines Brazil, said the connection between the destinations had a lot to offer both tourists and business travellers. “Johannesburg, which welcomes visitors from all over the world, is one of the main gateways to Africa and the surrounding region, with easy connections to destinations including Cape Town, Durban, as well as the picturesque islands of Mauritius, the Seychelles and the Maldives,” added Rodrigo Contreras, Latam Airlines Group MD: Europe and Africa.

Alessandra Allemann, Sales and Marketing Director at Welcome Tourism Services, said they were positive that the additional flights would help to increase tourism to South Africa. “It’s another opportunity to get more business from Brazil.”

Rushdi Harper, MD of Wow Cape Town Tours, said they expected travel from the Brazilian market to bounce back. “Before the economic slowdown in their country, we had a lot of Brazilians. I really think it’s going to have a positive impact on our business.”

“We expect to transport 50 000 passengers each year and, taking advantage of our unbeatable network, become the best option for all Latin American or African passengers travelling either for tourism or business reasons to any destination in any of the continents,” said Contreras.

Arrivals to South Africa from Brazil are up 21% for July, compared with the same month last year. Total arrivals year-to-date are 17 524, an increase of 5% compared with 2015. Arrivals from South America are up 18% year-to-date compared with 2015. Total arrivals year-to-date are 33 400 from South America.

During October, Latam Airlines flight JJ8162 departs São Paulo at 23h55 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and arrives in Johannesburg at 14h10 next day. The return flight, JJ8163 departs at 23h10 on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and arrives in São Paulo at 04h45 the next day.

Starting from November, flight JJ8162 will depart São Paulo at 23h55 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and arrive in Johannesburg at 14h10 the next day. The return flight, JJ8163, will depart on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays at 23h10, and arrive in São Paulo at 04h45 the following day.

The new flight allows good connections with destinations such as Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires and other Brazilian cities.