LATAM Is Canceling Washington Flights After Less Than Two Years

Filed Under: LATAM

Well that sure didn’t last long. As of May 2, 2016, LATAM Peru began flying 3x weekly between Lima and Washington Dulles. This represented their fifth US destination, after Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Orlando, and like most of their other US routes, it’s flown with a Boeing 767-300.

Usually when an airline launches a new route it at least sticks around for a few years as they try to grow the market, but I guess the route must not be doing well for LATAM at all, and they’re ready to cut their losses.

LATAM is discontinuing their flights between Lima and Washington Dulles as of March 1, 2018. While the flight still shows in the schedule (as of now), they’re zeroed out the inventory, and presumably it will be fully removed shortly.

For what it’s worth, the flight has operated with the following schedule:

LA2480 Lima to Washington Dulles departing 12:30PM arriving 8:15PM
LA2481 Washington Dulles to Lima departing 10:05PM arriving 5:30AM (+1 day)

I guess it’s not terribly surprising to see LATAM cut this route. While you’d think the US capital could sustain a flight like this, Washington Dulles isn’t a oneworld hub, so they were relying almost entirely on traffic originating and terminating there. They must have been doing pretty poorly if they couldn’t even get a 3x weekly flight to work.

While LATAM Peru hasn’t announced any expansion to the US, LATAM Brazil has announced two new routes recently, from Sao Paulo to Boston and Las Vegas. I’d love to see LATAM Peru announce some new US routes as well.

Are you surprised to see that LATAM Peru couldn’t make their Washington Dulles route work?

Comments
  1. Not surprising. I can’t think there would be a lot of demand in DC to go to Lima, judging from the demographics of the city.

  2. @Steve – This link actually shows that, after NYC/ NJ area and California, that DC area has one of the largest peruvian diasporas in the US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peruvian_Americans

    T100 data shows that the flight did well, from a load factor perspective (70s and mid 80s) on a year round basis.

    My bet is that the fares were too low, despite respectable loads.

  3. I would have taken this flight but with only 3x weekly frequency it rarely was available when I needed it. I think the lack of frequency made it hard to grow the route.

  4. The Latin American community in DC area is already too accustomed to taking Copa to South America. The IAD-PTY-LIM connection is timed perfectly, and most days is actually the same plane. My Peruvian and Ecuadorian friends in the DMV only and will only take Copa, despite their high prices in some markets. Copa now runs 2x Daily (and sometimes more) to Dulles, and together with Aeromexico has cornered the Latin American market. Latin American people LOVE Copa because of PTY’s ease of connection, and are not willing to change, even for the LATAM nonstop.

  5. A colossal disappointment. Award space was always generous. And while IAD will not be a OW hub anytime soon, WAS is becoming more of a OW city in general, especially with CX starting service.

  6. Yep, and now my plan to get home from Peru is screwed. I need to leave at noonish, booked this flight with AA miles, and LATAM won’t open up space for me on either their JFK or MIA flights. AA’s options are 6am or 10pm. Just freaking wonderful

  7. took this flight in biz for only 30k AA miles in July LIM-IAD, during peak travel time. Sad to see this route go as availability have been excellent.

  8. Agreed, good route with excellent availability. A bit hard to get to as there are few AA direct flights to IAD. Same can be said for the JFK flight.

    I vote Chicago for a new market and Dallas to have an alternative to that 757 AA garbage of a plane.

  9. I think the primary obstacle was that they were only half-in. Anything other than daily in a competitive market and you really are limited to low-yield point-to-point leisure travel. Businesses travel is what leads to profits but without flexibility re: scheduling, you can’t charge anyone a premium for direct travel.

  10. I think the demographic issue (poor and illegal) is why an IAD route isn’t working. I can’t imagine many Americans wanting to visit Lima, given what it is. It’s also cheaper to cross the border than fly.

  11. I’m afraid you have missed the larger story here. US-Lima is a route covered under the so-called Joint Venture between AA and LATAM. There has probably never been more overt efforts to restrict competition and raise fares in the history of US aviation than this combination, and it has been blessed by the US government and exempted from antitrust laws. If you look at all of the reasonably performing routes that the LATAM/AA “Joint Venture” have cancelled since its inception, it becomes clear that the goal is to restrict supply and raise prices, and they have been extremely successful in doing so. The AA/LATAM “Joint Venture” has a massive market share on many routes (especially US-Brazil, US-Chile, US-Peru, US-Uruguay) and the fares have absolutely skyrocketed — now the highest fares per km almost anywhere in the world, often roughly double or triple of routes to Asia or Europe). The AA/LATAM joint venture has and will continue to be an absolute disaster for consumers, and it continues to get worse.

  12. I am Peruvian and I use to live in DC for many years. I moved out just few months before Latam started the route IAD-LIM.

    I think there are many options to connect from DC to Peru. Most of my friends use to flight to Miami and then take a connection with LATAM or AA. They also claim that frequency of Latam flight wasn’t good and they only could take few times. Personally, I had preference for *A airlines, then I took many times Copa or Avianca (connecting in SAL or BOG), and sometimes United (connecting in EWR or IAH).

    I heard Latam is going to resume the route LIM-SFO and it’s going to use the plane of this flight.

  13. Noticed this a few weeks ago as I was looking to book this exact route for September and the availability disappeared!!

  14. @George that is true, but I think you can still find reasonable competition on most of the IAG/AA routes. The LATAM/AA JV though completely dominates many routes, and perhaps more importantly has clearly demonstrated its intent to restrict supply and end routes which would have been maintained but for the JV. Just one of several examples: prior to the JV, a consumer between NYC-GIG had three flights, two LATAM and one AA daily frequencies. Since the JV, only one of those daily frequencies still exist, and fares have roughly trebled.

  15. @Mark – the US has NOT GIVEN APPROVAL yet at all for the AA – LATAM joint venture. It is still under review for approval and has not been implemented. I work very close to this situation and can tell you that it is not in effect and AA/ LATAM are not working together on joint scheduling/ pricing / sales efforts in this region. If they were as of now, they’d be in violation of the law. They have applied, but it hasnt been approved.

  16. Lima’s not a hot market for a nonstop and LATAM cant compete otherwise at IAD with Avianca, AeroMexico, Copa, and the US carriers.

  17. @Jason, as you probably know, AA had a pre-existing JV with anti-trust immunity with LAN Chile, and has already enjoyed antitrust immunity from the US DOJ with regard to routes between US-Chile and US-Peru. CADE has already approved LATAM-AA antitrust immunity with regard to Brazil, and whatever is left to formalize the arrangements, I would say that there is significant evidence that they are already conspiring to restrict supply on Brazilian and Uruguayan routes as well, whether legally or illicitly.

  18. @Mark-That is incorrect. They have no ability to do anything in any of those countries. We (the US) havent given approval, Chile has said no, and everything is currently in limbo. They are not working together in any of those countries. If you believe they are, please point to the show cause orders from the DOT that gave them approval (which dont exist)

  19. @Mak what’s the evidence that “now the highest fares per km almost anywhere in the world”? I could think of LGA-BOS/PHL/DCA being easily higher for $ per km/mile. The point is, do we have comprehensive data to back up that point? Even if so, how can we isolate the fact of natural demand and supply vs. the effect of monopoly or manipulation of fares?

  20. ” like their other US routes, it’s flown with a Boeing 767-300″

    I recently flew JFK-Lima on LATAM and it was a nice 787. Great service.

  21. Most often LATAM priced themselves out. Copa and Avancia were about 30% cheaper. I am always looking for flights to South America and tried to stay oneworld but could not justify LATAM being so much more expensive

  22. @Jason, the grant of immunity is contained in a DOT Order with the following citation. You will also see that the current application references the fact that immunity has already been granted with regard to Chile and Peru. American – LAN – LAN Perú, Docket: DOT-OST-2004-19964. Final Order: Order 2005-10-8 (Oct. 13, 2005).

  23. I am SO bummed that this flight is going away. My husband is from Lima and we are planning on taking our kids there next year to visit. Connecting flights with toddlers = nightmare. No one else flies there direct from DC. What’s my next best option?

  24. I hope some other airline takes the spot from IAD to fly directly to Lima. It was SO convenient! My experience taking this flight several times is that it was always pretty full, as Lima is also a very important South American hub, so the decision probably has a lot to do with LATAM/American trying to limit OW flight availability to Lima due to an attempt to raise prices in other routes. Pretty bad for consumers.

  25. I am Peruvian , leaving in VA. Disappointment, great service. ….use to take this flight every 3 months, to visit my mother in Peru.

  26. I never saw 1 advertising for this flight ot listen a radio spot for all 2016 i never knew it was available and i was traveling Dc-Lima every 25 days!!!!
    Only tiok it 5 times!!!
    Great service comfortable flight!!!!

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