Peru prospers from continued growth with 12% more seats flown in 2018; Chile overtakes US to become leading international market

Viva Air Peru

Viva Air Peru was the fifth largest operator in Peru in 2018, based on available capacity. The LCC’s first flight in 2017 was celebrated with a ribbon cutting performed by William Shaw, then CEO of Viva Air Peru who has recently been appointed as the new CEO of Mexican carrier Interjet, plus the then President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

According to the World Bank, Peru was one of the fastest growing economies in South America between 2002 and 2013, with average annual GDP growth of 6.1%, although this subsequently slowed to an average growth rate of 3.1% from 2014 to 2017. Data from the United Nations World Populations Prospects (2017), suggests that Peru had a population of 29 million in 2009, with this expected to have increased to 32.55 million in 2018, based on the median growth variant. This would represent a population increase of approximately 12.2% from 2009 to 2018. With the country’s economy and population both on the rise, it is not surprising that significant capacity and new commercial air services have been introduced in the Peruvian market in the past 10 years.

Domestics seats treble, international capacity doubles since 2009

There were 12.59 million two-way seats available on all scheduled flights serving Peru in 2009. By 2018, this had increased by 149% to 31.30 million seats. Peru has enjoyed consistent annual capacity growth over this period. The largest single annual increase occurred in 2011, when seat numbers were boosted by 22%, while the smallest recorded growth over the past 10 years was 1.7% in 2014. The country’s air service market received a 12% boost in seat numbers in 2018, compared to 2017 levels. The average annual increase in Peru’s scheduled seats between 2009 and 2018 was about 11%.

Peru, seat capacity

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Capacity increased significantly on both domestic and international services from Peru between 2009 and 2018, but internal links witnessed the strongest increase during this period. Domestic seat numbers more than trebled from 5.26 million in 2009 to 16.55 million in 2018, while two-way capacity on international services doubled from 7.33 million to 14.75 million over the same period. As a result, the share of total seats flown on domestic services increased from 42% in 2009 to 53% in 2018, while international market share dropped from 58% to 47%.

LATAM Airlines Group leads the pack in Peru

OAG data shows that 36 different airlines operated scheduled flights serving Peru in 2018 (when all the LATAM subsidiary carriers are grouped as one operator). A small number of these carriers offered a very limited number of flights, suggesting that some of these services may have been charters. LATAM Airlines Group is by far the biggest operator serving the Peruvian market accounting for half of all available two-way seats alone. It offered scheduled flights from 19 of the country’s airports in 2018 and was the largest provider of both domestic and international capacity. Excluding LATAM Airlines Group and Avianca as operators with multinational interests, the biggest carrier registered purely in Peru is Peruvian Airlines which accounted for 2.93 million two-way seats in 2018, making it the third largest operator in its home market. The largest operators in the Peruvian market that are based outside outside of Latin America, are American Airlines and KLM, with the US and Dutch carriers finishing eighth and 11th in the airline rankings respectively.

Peru, Top 12 Airlines

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Most of the top 12 carriers serving Peru added capacity in the market in 2018. The biggest single increase came from Viva Air Peru, which upped its seat offering by a whopping 5,434% according to OAG data. This was a result of the LCC ramping up its operation, having only begun flying in 2017. Despite being a relative newcomer, Viva Air Peru had already become the fifth largest operator of scheduled seats in Peru in 2018. LC Perú increased the capacity serving its home market by 16% last year and was the fourth largest operator in the market, before it ceased operations in December. Only one of the top 12 carriers (highlighted in red) cut capacity in 2018, with Star Perú reducing its seat count by 23%.

Lima dominates Peru airport system

OAG Schedules Analyser shows that 25 airports in Peru welcomed at least one commercial scheduled flight in 2018, although some of these facilities did not see regular services. In total, 17 of the country’s airports offered 100,000 departing seats or more last year, but only four of these had international links. Lima is by far the biggest airport in the country, accounting for 62% of all departing seats. Lima handled 22.1 million passengers in 2018, according to Lima Airport Partners (LAP), which has the concession to run the airport. This represents a 7.3% increase on the 20.6 million passengers it recorded in 2017. Lima is the biggest departure point in Peru for both domestic and international services, according to available capacity.

Peru, top 12 Airports

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

All of Peru’s top 12 airports enjoyed an increase in departing capacity last year. Piura witnessed the strongest percentage increase in available seats, recording a 24% boost, due mainly to LATAM Airlines Group and Viva Air Peru adding more seats on services to Lima. The largest net growth was achieved by Lima and Cuzco, which saw their respective departing seat numbers increase by 1.55 million and 392,000 in 2018.

All of the ten largest domestic routes in Peru involve links to Lima. The largest of these connects the country’s two busiest airports, Lima and Cuzco. During the week commencing 22 January, six carriers will offer 340 departures combined on this airport pair, with total daily frequencies ranging from 47 to 51 depending on the day of week.

Chile becomes leading international destination in 2018

Direct scheduled flights were available from Peru to 23 international country markets in 2018, although at least one of these markets appears to have been linked by means of an irregular charter. Eight of the top 12 destination markets are in Latin America, with the remainder consisting of two in Europe, one in the Caribbean and one in North America. One of the most significant developments in Peru’s foreign connections in 2018 was that Chile overtook the US to become the country’s largest international destination market. After the US, the biggest destination from Peru outside of Latin America is Spain.

Peru, top international markets

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser. Data is for direct flights only.

Nine of Peru’s top-ranked international markets (highlighted in green) enjoyed an increase in departing capacity in 2018. The strongest percentage increases came on flights to Mexico (19.6% growth) and Chile (18.7%). LATAM Airlines Group and JetSMART both added capacity to Chile in 2018, helping the latter to become the biggest international country market from Peru last year. In contrast, the previous leading destination saw a decline in available seats in 2018, with capacity to the US dropping by 3.0% compared to 2017 figures. In total three of the top 12 international markets witnessed a drop in capacity last year (highlighted in red). These were mostly marginal, with the biggest cuts coming on services to Spain, where the one-way seat count was down by 3.3%. 

The largest single international link from Peru in 2018 was the connection between Lima and Santiago in Chile, which accounted for 15% of all international one-way capacity from the country last year. During the week commencing 22 January this airport pair will be operated by four airlines, offering 122 combined departures. The largest international route linking Peru to a destination outside of Latin America is the link between Lima and Miami. According to’s New Routes Database, one new airline service has already been launched from Peru in 2019, with LATAM Airlines beginning flights to Cali in Colombia on 2 January. The same carrier is also scheduled to begin services from Lima to Montego Bay, Jamaica and Calama in Chile on 1 and 2 July respectively.

LATAM Airlines Group, Lima

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to officially open LATAM Airlines Group’s new service between Lima and San Jose in Costa Rica on 2 January 2018. LATAM Airlines Group is the largest operator in Peru, accounting for half of the available two-way seats on direct flights serving the country in 2018. It increased its capacity in the Peruvian market by 9.5% last year.


  1. Alberto Arias Sanchez says:

    KLM is bigger than IB?

  2. Kadish says:

    Is KLM bigger than IB?

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