The LATAM Airlines Group, formed by the merger of LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines has become a modern airline operation and major force in South America, but looking back to the start of the Century, LAN, then operating solely from its Chile home under the LAN Chile brand, was still utilising classic Douglas DC-8 equipment.
A major fleet upgrade occurred in 2000 when the airline took delivery of the first of its new Airbus A340-300 fleet, which over the subsequent 15 years has driven its long-haul network growth. Its first aircraft was delivered in September 2000 and was introduced into schedule operation on long-haul routes in the first quarter of the following year.
The aircraft was used to grow LAN’s network into Oceania and from July 3, 2002 introduced a new three times weekly Santiago de Chile – Auckland – Sydney route, according to data from scheduled intelligence provider, OAG.
As the schedules below show, the timing may have been tweaked, but the flight continues to operate. Here’s the operational schedule for July 2002 and April 2015.
LA801 SCL2320 – 0425+2AKL0615+2 – 0740+2SYD 340 136
LA800 SYD1015 – 1530AKL1710 – 1205SCL 340 135
LA801 SCL2250 – 0400+2AKL0600+2 – 0740+2SYD 340 D
LA800 SYD0930 – 1445AKL1615 – 1135SCL 340 D
Almost 13 years on and times are again changing as LAN enters the latest modern era and switches the route from the four-engined Airbus A340-300 to the more efficient two-engined Boeing 787 Dreamliners, as it retires the A340 from commercial service.
The A340-300 will operate its last A340-300 rotation (from Chile) on the route on April 15, 2015 and from the subsequent day it will be flown by a 787-8. LAN currently operates ten 787-8s and this month took delivery of its first 787-9, the larger capacity version of the aircraft.