LATAM Airlines Group will launch its first scheduled service to Africa with flights to Johannesburg, as it prepares to begin flights on several new international routes in the following months.

The group will also adjust its international schedule to Brazil, which continues to face weak passenger demand, says LATAM today.

LATAM's Brazilian subsidiary TAM is awaiting regulatory approval to start flights between Sao Paulo Guarulhos and Johannesburg. The route will make LATAM the only Latin American airline serving the African continent. It will compete against South African Airways on the route, schedules in Innovata show.

LAN Peru will launch nonstop service between Washington Dulles and Lima in the second half of 2016, operating four-times weekly, says LATAM. It will be the only airline offering service on the route.

"We are extremely pleased with this announcement as it represents an important milestone for the group since we are beginning operations to a fifth destination within the United States, becoming the only operator to offer nonstop service between Lima and Washington DC. This strengthens the company’s operations between Latin America and the USA," says LATAM chief executive Enrique Cueto.

The airline group will adjust its international schedules in Brazil, as it cites the economic downturn in the country. TAM will drop its thrice-weekly Miami-Belo Horizonte route from March 2016, leaving American Airlines as the only operator on the route. Brazil's Azul had previously announced it would serve Florida from Belo Horizonte from 16 November, with nonstop service to Orlando.

In the second half of 2016, TAM will reduce frequencies on its Sao Paulo-Orlando route to daily from 11 times weekly. This route will then be operated with the Airbus A350, says LATAM, which currently deploys Boeing 767s on the route.

TAM will increase frequency between Brasilia and Orlando to six-times weekly from three to boost connectivity, the airline says.

In April 2016, TAM will add a second weekly flight to Miami-Fortaleza and reduce frequencies on Miami-Manaus to four-times weekly from five currently.

Separately, LATAM had previously said it would begin service on four new routes within Latin America and the Caribbean. These are thrice-weekly flights on Lima-Antofagasta (Chile) and five-times-weekly service on Lima-Montevideo (Uruguay) operated by LAN Peru, four-times weekly flights on Bogota-Punta Cana operated by LAN Colombia, and four-times-weekly service on Brasilia-Punta Cana operated by TAM.

The Lima-Antofagasta and two Punta Cana routes will begin in December, while Lima-Montevideo flights will launch in January.

Elsewhere in LATAM's network, the carrier will add frequencies on existing international routes. These include adding flights on LAN Peru's Miami-Lima route in December, for a total of 17 weekly flights from 14.

TAM will begin operating nonstop on Sao Paulo-Bogota from February 2016, complementing LAN Colombia's existing service. The new TAM flights will take LATAM's frequencies on the route to 11 from seven.

TAM will also start service between Sao Paulo and Lima in January, in addition to LAN Peru's flights on the route.

Finally, LATAM will boost frequencies on its routes to Europe. TAM's new Sao Paulo-Barcelona route will be operated daily from June 2016, up from thrice weekly currently. LAN had also previously announced plans to begin service on Santiago-Sao Paulo-Milan from 4 November, operating daily on the route.

LAN will take over the Sao Paulo-Milan route from TAM when the new service begins.

Source: Cirium Dashboard