Air routes and business deals to boost relationship between Australia and Latin America

by Ray Clancy on October 13, 2017

in Australia Travel

Links between Australia and Latin America are becoming increasingly important with visitor numbers between the two continents as well as trade set to increase.

The first non-stop flight from Santiago in Chile and Melbourne in Australia has now started. The 11,000-kilometre, 15-hour flight is the longest for air carrier Latam with flights three times a week between the two cities.

Latam

(Carlos Yudica/Shutterstock.com)

A major co-operative marketing campaign across Latin America has been running since June and this month will see the addition of trade incentives between the continents with Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo leading a business delegation to Mexico

‘We are proud to be the only airline to offer a non-stop connection between Latin America and Melbourne. This new route provides a great opportunity for more people from Australia and Asia-Pacific to visit our region as well as strengthen ties between Latin America and the two regions,’ said Enrique Cueto, chief executive officer of Latam Airlines Group.

More routes are on the cards. Cueto revealed that by the end of 2017 the airline will have launched 13 new routes as part of an expansion plan. Currently Latam transports approximately 190,000 passengers between Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. With the new service, Latam estimates that it will transport an additional 77,000 passengers between the two continents each year.

‘Australia and Chile have much in common. Our countries share many of the same opportunities and challenges and there is much more to be done together. Direct flights between Santiago and Melbourne will help strengthen our cooperation and the links between our businesses, universities and communities,’ said Robert Fergusson, Australian Ambassador to Chile.

‘Thanks to the new direct route between Santiago and Melbourne, our people have never been so close. This milestone also opens our region to Asia and Latin America bringing even more opportunities to expand our friendship and explore new business and trade opportunities,’ said Philip Dalidakis, Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade in the Victoria State Government.

Meanwhile, Ciobo is working on deepening business connections across the resource, food and ¬beverage, financial services and education sectors in Mexico. He said that the renegotiations of the North Atlantic Free-Trade Agreement led by the Trump administration in the US had created a new window of ¬opportunity for Australia.

Indeed, Australia is the first country to pursue a free trade deal with the Pacific ¬Alliance bloc of Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia whose combined economies total almost $2 trillion. Mexico is forecast to be among the world’s top 10 economies by 2030 and the two-way trade in goods with Australia is valued at more than $3 billion in 2016/2017.

The country is keen to boost trade relations with Australia, given increasing uncertainty about its relationship with the Trump administration. Ciobo explained that a free trade deal would allow better market access for a range of goods including agricultural products, aluminium products, mining equipment, pharmaceuticals and paper, in particular.

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