Monday, 24 March 2008

Nonstop flights between Asia and Latin America

Paul Lukacs has an interesting recent post updating some of my earlier comments on the (lack of) nonstop flights between Latin America and Asia.

For the sake of completeness, there are a few flights and details he missed, although they in no way alter his, or my, conclusions about the difficulties of Asia-Latin American travel, especially for people who don’t want to, or can’t get permission to, transit the USA or its airspace:

  • Japan Airlines has “direct” (same-plane) flights between Tokyo and São Paulo. In the past, various other Japanese, Korean, and Brazilian airlines have operated direct flights between Rio or São Paulo and Tokyo, Osaka, and Seoul. But none of these flights have been nonstop: all of them have stopped in the USA. And the USA has no provision for transit without visa. Japan is in the USA “Visa Waiver Program”, so Japanese citizens “only” need to be fingerprinted and photographed while their plane is refueled at LAX or JFK. But Brazilian and Korean citizens need expensive (US$130) transit visas for the USA, requiring an in-person application and interview at a US Embassy or Consulate, even if they aren’t leaving the airport. The cost and hassle of transit visas led to the discontinuation of all of these flights by Brazilian and Korean airlines after the USA abolished its (very limited) transit without visa facilities after 11 September 2001, leaving only the current JL flights NRT-JFK-GRU and v.v.
  • The Aeromexico flights between Tijuana and Tokyo would have to go some distance out of their way to avoid overflying USA airspace. So it’s likely that, under the latest international APIS rules, Aeromexico is required to get permission from the USA before it boards each passenger.
  • Since late 2007, there has been exactly one regularly scheduled nonstop airline route between Asia and South America: between Dubai and São Paulo on Emirates. Dubai isn’t quite as far out of the way as Europe for passengers from Asia, the Middle East, and the Middle East. And it’s easier for citizens of most countries to get permission to transit Dubai — as long as they don’t leave the airport — than to transit most countries in Europe, much less the USA. It’s now the obvious route to and from South America for Chinese business travellers, among others. The simplicity of the transit outweighs the greater distance, time, and airfare. But it’s still a costly, roundabout route, especially for people travelling to or from East or Southeast Asia.
Link | Posted by Edward on Monday, 24 March 2008, 08:52 ( 8:52 AM)

Malaysian air flies from Kuala Lumpur to Buenos Aires via South Africa. Or one can take flight from South East Asia via Australia / New Zealand to Chile.

Posted by: Rani, 24 March 2008, 16:14 ( 4:14 PM)

Those Americans have absolutely lost the plot. Those ridiculous rules of having to go through immigration (even if you're a transit passenger waiting for your plane to refuel) made me say goodbye to airlines flying the London Los Angeles Sydney and Auckland route. It's just to much hassle and stress. Emirates is a smart company cashing in on all the Asia to South America traffic and they are a pretty good to fly with too.

Posted by: Jack, 25 March 2008, 01:29 ( 1:29 AM)

The other option is via Australia. LAN and Aerolineas Argentinas fly between Sydney and Santiago and Buenos Aires respectively. However, as both flights go via Auckland and New Zealand has announced a new transit visa requirement, this option is not attractive.

Qantas will fly to Buenos Aires from later this year, bypassing Auckland.

Posted by: The Global Traveller, 13 April 2008, 10:04 (10:04 AM)

wtf does this shit hav to do with us and asia?

Posted by: ifmister, 22 May 2008, 19:14 ( 7:14 PM)

Its not fare for Brazilian and Korean citizens that they need expensive (US$130) transit visas for the USA, requiring an in-person application and interview at a US Embassy or Consulate.

Posted by: Anonymous, 28 December 2009, 01:58 ( 1:58 AM)

The US Visa requirement was waived for Koreans in 2009 leading to a 4% increase in the number of Koreans visiting the USA. Korean flies a Boeing 777 service from Seoul Incheon to LAX to Sao Paolo.

Posted by: Terry Casey, 10 September 2010, 08:03 ( 8:03 AM)

For those wanting to connect one-way as a part of an independent long-term around-the-world trip, the cheapest flight I have found between South America and Asia (via the US) is a ticket offered by LAN between Lima and Hong Kong with a connection in SFO. It has a LAN number all the way, although Cathey Pacific operates the second half between SFO and Hong Kong.

Posted by: Dansktex, 17 April 2011, 19:53 ( 7:53 PM)

Why in this 21st. Century, they don't have a flight from Asia, Honolulu as a Pit Stop, and strait to Lima Peru (In The Center Of S. America). From there; Branch out to the other country's. This way one can skip the continental USA completely saving a bunch of time.


In Honolulu.


Posted by: Philip, 13 November 2011, 14:25 ( 2:25 PM)

JAL and Malaysia Air have both cancelled their direct flights to Brazil. As of now, there are no direct flights from SE Asia to SA. As of now the best option I can find are to fly to Rome, Paris, or Madrid, endure the layover then continue on to your destination.

Whichever airline offers direct service first from Bangkok to Chile or Peru is going to make a fortune. Why they don't do it is a mystery to me.

Posted by: steve, 15 August 2013, 19:37 ( 7:37 PM)

Once upon a time there was a Varig MD11 flight from Bangkok to Sao Paolo via JNB and Cape Town. It must have made lots sof money, but it stopped. SIA, TG. CX all fly to JNB. Why dont they extend the service to SA

Posted by: Chuck, 6 April 2014, 15:15 ( 3:15 PM)

A few newer flights to add to the previous lists:

Qatar Airways has nonstop service between Doha (West Asia) and Sao Paulo.

Emirates has nonstop service between Dubai (West Asia) and both Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

Emirates also has direct, same-plane service between Dubai and Sao Paulo, with a stop in each direction in Dakar, Senegal.

Singapore Airlines has direct, same-plane service between Singapore and Sao Paulo, with a stop in each direction in Barcelona.

Posted by: Edward Hasbrouck, 6 April 2014, 15:56 ( 3:56 PM)
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