One of South America’s largest air carriers, LATAM Airlines, completed its first-ever direct flight on Thursday from Latin America to Israel.
The trip took place from the Chilean capital of Santiago via São Paulo/Guarulhos-Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport to Ben-Gurion International Airport outside of Tel Aviv. This is the sole direct route from Latin America to Israel, and will function once a day on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“After years of separation and as a result of the unprecedented momentum in tourism traffic into Israel, we inaugurate today the first direct flight from South America,” said Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. “The arrival in Israel of LATAM Airlines—one of the largest in South America—is a breakthrough in flight connections between Israel and Brazil, and an expression of confidence in Israel’s tourism potential. And this in light of the huge increase in incoming tourism from Latin America.”
He added, “I set tourism development from Latin America as a key objective and, within this framework, the ministry is implementing innovative marketing actions, including filming a popular soap opera in Israel that will be broadcast throughout America at this time.”
Claudia Sender, vice president of customers for LATAM Airlines Group and CEO of LATAM Airlines Brazil, said: “We are pleased to inaugurate our first direct flight to Tel Aviv, which also marks LATAM’s arrival on five continents. As an airline group, we offer the best connectivity in Latin America, and thanks to the only direct service between the region and Israel, starting today passengers will have easier access to this exciting destination.”
From January to November of this year, Israel has experienced 146,000 tourists from Latin America—a 62 percent increase compared to 2016, according to Israel’s Tourism Ministry.