LATAM Airlines Group subsidiary, LAN Peru, will add two new destinations to its domestic network before the end of this year as it enhances connectivity to the capital Lima and its own and partner carriers’ onward international air services from Jorge Chávez International Airport. During the final quarter of 2014 LAN Peru will add flights to Ayacucho and Talara as it adds ten weekly flights to its domestic schedule.
The airline plans to introduce a three times weekly link between Lima and the historical city of Ayacucho from October 1, 2014 and a daily link between Lima and the northern beach destination of Talara from November 1, 2014. Both routes will be served with Airbus A319 equipment. This network expansion has been made possible following infrastructure improvements at the airports to handle Airbus A320 Family aircraft.
Ayacucho, formerly known as Huamanga from its Spanish colonial days, is famous for its craftsmen, with a rich cultural heritage of Andean ancestors. During the Spanish colonial era, the city was one of the most important in Peru, for its strategic location on the road between Cuzco and Lima. It is a city of churches, where the Christian fervor reaches its peak each year in celebration of Holy Week (Easter), a period when demand for air services grows significantly.
The port city of Talara in northwestern Peru is the western-most city in all of mainland South America and is served by Cap FAP Víctor Montes Arias International Airport. It is located in Piura region a location already served by LAN Peru with flights to Cap FAP Guillermo Concha Iberico International Airport in neighbouring Piura province. The new daily link to Talara will serve the local population of over 100,000 but also provide better access to the famous Máncora resort, known for its turquoise beaches and excellent surfing conditions.
The confirmation of this internal growth coincides with celebrations to mark the 15th anniversary of LAN Peru’s operations and is the first domestic expansion since 2008 when flights to Cajamarca were added to the carrier’s network. “As we complete 15 years flying in Peru, LAN Peru wants to continue its ongoing commitment to the country and to continue to improve connectivity,” said Felix Antelo, chief executive officer, LAN Peru. “We want our passengers to travel to more destinations, enjoying the service, quality and timeliness that characterise all airlines in the Group.”
The new routes will place LAN Peru in direct competition with Star Peru in the Lima – Ayacucho market, but it will be the sole carrier in the Lima – Talara market, a city pair last served on a scheduled basis by Star Peru back in late 2012. According to MIDT data an estimated 110,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Lima and Ayacucho in 2013, while around 11,000 flew between Lima and Talara in 2007 and 2012 when direct scheduled flights were offered.
In our analysis, below, we look in greater detail at the Peruvian domestic market and highlight the strong position LAN Peru and its LATAM partners hold in this market despite the recent growth of Avianca following its acquisition of the Groupo TACA operation across Central and South America. According to schedules data, LAN Peru's parent LAN Airlines had a 61.2 per cent share of domestic capacity in 2013, down from a high of 86.9 per cent in 2009.