Thanks to recent technological advancements, aircraft efficiency and range is constantly improving. The latest aircraft from Boeing and Airbus – the 787 Dreamliner and A350 respectively – are both medium-sized aircraft capable of flying very long distances efficiently. The success of these aircraft has culminated in the creation of many new non-stop city pairs on routes that were previously unfeasible, either due to their length or insufficient demand to justify operating a jumbo jet on the route.

Qantas is one airline that plans to capitalise on the extra range offered by the Boeing 787. Qantas’ new direct Perth-London flight will be Australia’s first non-stop flight to Europe when it launches in March next year. But it won’t even be the world’s longest flight; Qatar Airways’ Doha-Auckland route will maintain that record.

Qantas is yet to officially announce further new routes for its new fleet of Boeing 787-9s, but Paris, Frankfurt and an additional US city have been touted as possible destinations. There have even been rumours that Qantas is considering non-stop Sydney-London and Sydney-New York flights in the medium term. Now, there is speculation that there may soon be non-stop flights between Sydney and Lima, Peru.

Last week, the Australian and Peruvian governments signed a new Air Services Agreement. This is a prerequisite for airlines to operate direct flights between the two countries. The announcement coincided with plans to allow young Peruvians to visit Australia on working holidays, as well as plans for a Free Trade Agreement between the two nations. The number of Australians visiting Peru, and vice versa, is already growing rapidly – and these announcements will only further increase visitor numbers.

There are currently only a handful of flights between Australia and South America. Qantas and LATAM Airlines fly to Chile, and Air New Zealand flies 3x weekly from Auckland to Buenos Aires.

There are no direct flights to anywhere in Central America or the north of South America. But with the new Air Services Agreement signed, the potential of the Peruvian market and the ability of the Boeing 787-9 to operate such a flight, non-stop Sydney-Lima flights could be on the horizon.

Using the 2015 data, there would be an average of 837 people travelling between Australia and Peru each week – almost enough to fill a 2x weekly QF 787-9s. But once you take the increasing traffic and availability of onward connections into account, I think that by next year Qantas could easily fill 3x weekly 789s from SYD-LIM. Of course, LATAM Airlines might also be interested.

Another member adds…

Very interesting, and I agree would be great to see. I think South America in general will benefit from a number of new routes opened up in the next 5 years. With the range of the 787’s and 350’s, I believe RIO and SAO might even be a possibility, with QF, NZ or LA capable of making these routes work flying east from AU/NZ.

Lima also happens to be a hub for Qantas’ partner LATAM Airlines. So, as well as passengers heading to Lima (and Machu Picchu!), the flight would likely be patronised by flyers heading to Colombia, Ecuador and even destinations in the Caribbean and Central America via a Lima stopover. One member believes that the Colombian market could be particularly lucrative for Qantas.

Colombia is a huge opportunity for this route. The choice now is to go up through LAX, with all the hideousness that LOTFAP entries include, even in transit, or down via Santiago and 12 hr transit connections. Colombia has a very large well-off class, and everyone wants to visit Australia, whether just to big-note themselves, or to study english, or to visit some of the Colombians who are already over there. Colombia HAS MONEY.

I think that this route would quickly become the preferred route for most south american originating pax, and specifically they would want to fly QF.

Would you use a direct Sydney-Lima flight? Join the discussion HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]