Cartagena – Lima (LATAM Airlines)
Cartagena has been relatively unknown in the world tourism market, however improved security and awareness of the Cartagena tourism market has made the need for more direct air services necessary. Cartagena Airport started a long standing relationship with ASM back in 2009 driven by the need for improved aviation market analytics, better airline relations and strategic advice. ASM initially proposed a passenger route development strategy which led to the delivery and implementation of new routes. Over the years this has been expanded to reflect the changing dynamics of the Cartagena tourism market and changing behaviour of airlines worldwide.
The arrival of LATAM Airlines at Rafael Núñez International Airport in the Colombian city of Cartagena next year will complete a hat-trick of new key international air links to be introduced from the expanding facility, the country’s northern Caribbean region. The resumption of the regular link to Lima, Peru will help link Cartagena to the south and provide connectivity not just into Peru, but also Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
LATAM Airlines is resurrecting the former LAN Peru link from January 2017, initially operating with four weekly frequencies using Airbus A320 equipment. This marks a significant growth in capacity versus when it was flown under the LAN Airlines guise between April 2009 and June 2011 when there were just two weekly rotations using a smaller A319 airliner.
March 2017 also saw the launch of a new route from Amsterdam with KLM, three times a week via Bogotá to Cartagena on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays using the Boeing 787-9.
The airport almost hit the three million passenger mark in 2012 after growing by at least 20 per cent annually in the previous four years, and since hosting Routes Americas in February 2013 growth has continued – annual departure capacity has risen 43.4 percent from 1.75 million seats in 2013 to over 2.5 million forecasted for the current calendar year, based on published schedules. Over this period international capacity has increased 55.7 percent, an average annual rate of 18.6 percent and accounts for 13.0 percent of its total seat offering.
ASM has been working closely with airport operator Sociedad Aeroportuaria de la Costa (SACSA) for a number of years providing strategic advice, business case development and hands-on network development support and providing a joined-up approach to air service development with Cartagena Tourism. It has already played an important role in delivering two other international air services to Cartagena in the past two years – JetBlue Airways from Fort Lauderdale and Delta Air Lines from Atlanta.
JetBlue inaugurated a daily link between Cartagena and Fort Lauderdale in October 2014, supporting the strong community of Colombians now residing in Florida and growing tourism and commerce links. ASM supported this with a business case preparation and route forecast as well as visits to the airline and representation along SACSA at Routes events.
“We are delighted to see LATAM Airlines commit to bring back this key link to Lima that will help support passenger flows in and out of Cartagena from across South America,” said Omar Hashmi, consultant, Airport Strategy & Marketing (ASM).