Competition on routes from Australia to South America are heating up with Chilean airline LAN launching the 787 Dreamliner on its Sydney-Auckland-Santiago route this week.
The modern aircraft replaces the Airbus A340 on the route. The airline will initially fly 787-8 Dreamliners before replacing the aircraft with the larger 787-9 model.
Patricio Aylwin, LATAM Airlines Group's managing director for Asia-Pacific, said the larger Dreamliner would allow the airline to increase capacity on the route by 27 per cent.
LAN becomes the first airline to fly the route using a twin engine aircraft, saving 20 per cent on fuel by moving away from the gas-guzzling, four-engine A340.
LAN's 787-8 carries a total of 247 passengers with a two-class layout featuring 30 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and 217 economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.
The move comes as both Qantas and Air New Zealand look to increase competition on South America flights.
In February, Qantas, which is a codeshare partner of LAN's, increased its number of weekly non-stop 747 flights from Sydney to Santiago from three to four. Meanwhile, Air New Zealand announced it would also start flying from Auckland to Buenos Aires (with connections to Australia) from December this year.
Boeing's cutting-edge Dreamliner is the first airliner to be made from carbon-fibre rather than aluminium, and has several other innovative design features. These include: auto-dimming; larger windows; a more humid cabin (which Boeing claims reduces jet lag); larger overhead storage bins; and aerodynamic technology that reduces the effects of turbulence.
Along with LAN, airlines operating Dreamliners from Australia include Jetstar, Air New Zealand, United Airlines, Air India, Thai Airways and Royal Brunei.