Over The Andes: The Airlines of Chile

Airports & Airlines
Ahmed El Dahan
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8
min read
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October 22, 2021

Given its particular location in the southwestern corner of South America,  coupled with having some of the highest spending power in the region; Chile has developed an extensive airline network that features private and charter airlines that provide a plethora of services from scheduled international and domestic flights, charter operations along with helicopter assistance for corporate and scientific-research projects. Here, Eways Aviation provides insight into the country’s leading airlines.

LATAM Chile

LATAM Chile

As part of the LATAM Group, a far-spread airline conglomerate in Latin America, this airline is one of the most significant providers of flight transport services in Chile. Its main hub is at Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago, with secondary hubs scattered across South America in Bogotá, Lima, Quito, and Guayaquil airports.

Prior to being LATAM Chile, the airline was known as Línea Aérea Nacional (LAN), having been established by Arturo Merino Benotez in the late 1920s as the first Chilean airline. It remained the flag carrier of the country until the 90s when it was privatised and integrated into the LATAM Group.

As one of the largest members of the LATAM Group, the airline has a fleet of 148 planes that include 67 A320-200s, 6 A320neos, 18 A319-100s and Boeing models 787-8 and 787-9 planes. It serves 17 internal destinations with the addition of 31 international routes.

JetSmart

JetSmart


Established by American investment firm Indigo Partners (Wizz Air, Volaris, Frontier Airlines), JetSmart commenced operations in June 2017, initially providing domestic flights with three A320-200 airplanes.

As the airline grew in popularity, destinations spread to further corners of South America along with its acquisition of A320neo aircraft. Moreover Jet Smart Argentina was established; eventually acquiring Norwegian Air Argentina (NAA) and covering all of its routes. Although taking over the airline, Jet Smart did not acquire NAA’s Boeing 737 aircraft, opting instead to use its own Airbus aircraft to realise services in Argentina. 

In some of its most recent developments, in July 2021, American Airlines announced plans to invest in JetSmart, giving members of American Airlines Advantage loyalty program the opportunity to earn miles when flying on JetSmart. 

JetSmart currently owns an active fleet of 19 aircraft - 11 A320-200s along with 8 A320neos. In addition the airline has pending orders for A321neo airplanes and A321XLR planes. From its base at Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport JetSmart serves such destinations as Lima, Bogota, São Paulo, Cordoba along with 14 Chilean cities.

Sky Airline

Sky Airline, (marketed as SꓘY), is Chile’s second largest airline and the country’s first budget flyer. Based at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International, it covers regional routes to Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay. Furthermore, Sky provides charter flights in Chile along with managing a domestic network in Peru.

German-Chilean businessman Jürgen Paulmann had created the airline in 2001, and it remained primarily in his control until the end of his life in 2014. Its fleet consists of 24 Airbus aircraft namely - 22 A320neos and A321neos. 

Aerovías DAP

Aerovías DAP

This airline was founded in 1980 and remains in full ownership of the Pivcevic family. Its name DAP is taken from its founder’s initials - Domingo Andrés Pivcevic, a noted entrepreneur from Punta Arenas. Following certification, Aerovías DAP’s first flights were performed using a Piper PA-31 Navajo which was eventually replaced with Cessna 402 and Beechcraft King Air 100 aircraft. First destinations served included Punta Arenas, Porvenir, Puerto Williams and Puerto Natales. 

Currently the airline’s fleet includes 11 British Aerospace planes featuring models 146-100, 146-200 along with the Avro RJ100 and RJ85. It provides scheduled and chartered flights to such destinations as Puerto Williams, Porvenir, El Salvador and Balmaceda. The company also offers cargo transport, rescue and medical services along with giving clients the option to rent aircraft privately.

Given the touristic boom Chile experienced in the late 80s, the airline began providing flights to Antarctica leading to the establishment of its sister company DAP Antarctica - a tourist agency that specializes in organizing trips to the South Pole. Furthermore the company has also lent its services to scientists performing research in the region. Moreover DAP also has a helicopter fleet - DAP Helicópeteros, that predominantly serves the mining and oil industries in the country.

Aerocardal

Aerocardal


As one of the top private aviation firms in the country, Aerocardal has an allotted space spanning 23,120m2 at Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport from which it launches operations, along with housing its hangars, workshops and administrative buildings. 

The airline started its operations in 1991, first providing charter services before expanding its hand to medical and rescue operations. Aside from giving travelers alternative travel solutions, the airline is also heavily involved in various corporate sectors including the mining, electric and oil industries. Furthermore Aerocardral established Chile’s first private Fixed Base Operator (FBO), dedicating its services to executive aircraft in the county.

Its fleet currently features 11 airplanes and helicopters including two Gulfstream G150s, a Pilatus PC12, Dornier 228-100 and 228-200 along with a Eurocopter BO-105LS. Aside from providing its domestic and regional charter services, Aerocardral has touched down at various far reaching international cities going to such places as Saint-Petersburg, Sydney and London.

Leading A Region

Chile has grown to be a prominent example of budding economies realising their potential and fostering powerful airline networks. In particular the country should be noted for having some of the highest performing charter airlines that compliment its commercial flyers. Putting aside Chile’s spending power, through privatisation, corporate vision and strategic management, the country has created a field map for other country’s struggling to nurture successful aviation landscapes.


BY
Ahmed El Dahan
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Aviation Journalist
A seasoned writer, Ahmed El Dahan was trained in Journalism and Mass Communication in the American University in Cairo. He then moved on to refine his writing skills working in various publications covering such topics as tourism, art exhibitions, music along with being a food critic. Relocating to Paris in 2015, he has an ever growing curiosity for the aviation industry. Away from the page, Dahan is an active professional saxophonist.

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