Courtesy of: The Morning News
By: Rosalie Klein
Aruba’s Minister of Tourism, Transport, Culture and Primary Sector, Otmar Oduber, was very pleased to officially welcome the first LAN flight from Bogotá, Colombia, not long after midnight, yesterday morning.
This is the second airline to provide essential, direct service to this important Colombian city, and as part of the LATAM Airlines Group, it offers connections to twenty other vital South American destinations for business or leisure travel.
LAN is the flag carrier of Chile, the predominant airline in Chile, Peru and Ecuador, and the second largest carrier in Argentina and Colombia through its local subsidiaries. LAN is currently positioned amongst the largest airlines in Latin America, serving Latin America, North America, the Caribbean, Oceania, and Europe; 49th oldest air carrier in the world from its foundation date, and the 10th oldest airline in operation today. Its main hub is Santiago International Airport.
CEO of the Aruba Airport Authority (AAA), Peter Steinmetz, along with CEO of the Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA), Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes were also on hand to extend a hand of greeting to LAN Colombia’s Director, Cristian Ortiz Valenzuela. Also present was the Consul of Colombia on Aruba, Mirza Gnecco Pla.
A traditional exchange of gifts took place in the VIP room of the Reina Beatrix International Airport after the group jointly cut the ribbon for the inauguration of the twice-weekly service.
It was followed by a champagne toast to what is expected to be a long and mutually advantageous partnership between the AAA, ATA and LAN, “with the strong belief of the eventuality of daily service.”
It is projected the airline will bring a possible 36,192 visitors and businesspersons to Aruba annually. The twice weekly flights depart Colombia on Wednesday and Sunday, to return from Aruba in the wee hours on Thursdays and Mondays.
The LAN Colombia flight on an Airbus 320 with a capacity of 174 passengers departs Bogotá at around midnight to arrive on Aruba approximately at 1:30 AM. It turns around and heads back to Colombia at 2:00 AM. The unusual hour is more cost efficient, a savings which is passed on in the reasonable price of passage. The arrival time in Bogotá also allows passengers ample time to connect to early morning flights to other Latin American cities.