LATAM Airlines Group will increase the number of flights on its non-stop service between Melbourne and Santiago, Chile, in response to growing demand from passengers travelling between Australia and South America.

Commencing on 1 January 2019, LATAM Airlines will increase its non-stop service from three to five flights per week. As the only non-stop connection between Melbourne and Santiago, travel times between the two cities has been significantly reduced. Flights to Santiago will take just 12 hours, while flights from Santiago involves a journey time of 14 hours.

Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation, Simon Gandy welcomed LATAM’s expansion. “Since LATAM’s entry into the Melbourne market, the number of passengers travelling between Melbourne and Santiago has grown significantly, demonstrating the positive impact the airline’s service has had on tourism and education,” said Mr Gandy.

Earlier this year at Victoria’s largest one-off collection of Latin American ambassadors and people supporting them in the diplomatic core, Victoria's Minister for Trade and Investment hosted the launch of Globally Connected: Latin America Trade and Investment Strategy. During his keynote speech, the Minister said the Strategy “will commit to double the number of good exports to Latin America, double the number of student numbers from Latin America, and double the visitor numbers over the next ten years.”

Additionally, a recent mission to Latin America by the Governor of Victoria, the Hon. Linda Dessau AC outlined a range of initiatives that will attract even more of its students to the state, while encouraging more Victorian students to study in Latin America.

Victorian universities are increasingly popular among Latin American higher education students, presenting opportunities for continued growth in student recruitment from the region, generating research partnerships and integrating Victorian providers into regional scholarship programs.

Senior Trade and Investment Director from the Victorian Government's Santiago office, Natalia Gorrono said that "most students returning from Victoria end up in high-level positions both in the private and public sector and they can help increase student flow and spearhead business opportunities for our state.”

Victoria’s close relationship ties with Latin America have been underscored by the momentum established since the Victorian Government opened an office in Santiago in 2016, and LATAM Airlines launched direct flights to Santiago in October 2017.

VIDEO: Victoria’s Latin America Trade and Investment Strategy launch