Two Latin American Airlines fly the Southern Link to Shanghai
Two Latin American carriers have started flying the ‘Southern Link’, choosing New Zealand as their transit point en route to China.
On 15 April, for the first time, Aerolineas Argentinas flew to Auckland, and then on to Shanghai. In addition, LATAM – which had existing connections between Auckland and Santiago, has now extended these flights through to China. Both carriers are now flying this route regularly, transporting essential medical supplies from China to Latin America.
The distance between Shanghai and Buenos Aires is over 10,500 nautical miles, and there is no aircraft in the world currently able to fly this distance. Aerolineas Argentina analysed flight routes taking into consideration factors such as the distance between Shanghai and Buenos Aires, and decided to fly the most efficient route – a 15 hour flight between Buenos Aires and Auckland, followed by an 11 hour flight between Auckland and Shanghai.
This is a great example of the Southern Link concept, which was initiated by the NZ China Council and its partners through the “Building the Southern Link” conference held on 25 June last year. The Southern Link involves routing passengers and multi-modal freight between China and South America via New Zealand, providing the shortest air route between the continents and facilitating a more seamless and convenient flow of goods and people compared to alternative hubs in the Northern Hemisphere.
“It’s exciting to see the Southern Link concept gaining real momentum” said Executive Director Rachel Maidment. “Our next step is to commission an economic study to quantify the benefits of New Zealand acting as a bridge to the broader Asia region.”
“Chairman Sir Don McKinnon noted at the Southern Link Conference that this a big and bold idea. In an age where many are turning inwards, it is exciting to support a concept which re-thinks the way we link economies and people.”