LAN to operate 787 to Madrid in April

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Chile's LAN plans to operate its Boeing 787 aircraft to Madrid in early April, adding its first European destination with the new aircraft type.

The Oneworld carrier first operated the 787 on flights between Santiago and Buenos Aires, before deploying it on the Santiago-Lima route. On 2 January, it operated the 787 to North America, on a non-stop flight between Los Angeles and Santiago.

From February, LAN will deploy the aircraft on its Santiago-Lima-Los Angeles route, says LATAM's vice-president of fleet projects Justin Siegel. The airline is targeting a 1 April launch for Madrid, he adds.

LAN operates the Airbus A340-300s on its daily Santiago-Madrid flights currently. Siegel says the airline has not decided upon the number of 787 frequencies on the route. LAN competes against Iberia on the Santiago-Madrid route, schedules in Innovata show. The Spanish carrier operates daily between the two cities, using A340-600s.

Looking further ahead, LAN is studying the possibility of deploying 787s to the Brazilian market, following its merger with Brazil's TAM which closed in 2012. TAM does not have existing orders of the 787, but holds orders for the Airbus A350.

Siegel says it is too early to say when LAN could possibly deploy its 787s to Brazil, but adds that there is potential for the 787 to be operated on many long-haul flights between Brazil and Europe.