Flights between South America and East Asia are very time consuming and expensive; they generally require a connection in Europe or North America, numerous connections, and long layovers.

Every year or so I have done a search for direct flights between South America and East Asia, or between South America and Southeast Asia. There always seems to be rumors of a direct flight, or some airline has a plan, but never multiple airlines competing on this route, nor are there extensive plans.

SE Travel is fairly quiet on this issue; just this question about Mexico comes close, but travel between Mexico to South America is a fairly long haul.

I always hope to see a flight from Manila or Tokyo to Lima, but it never seems to materialize. The question: Any news about a direct flight between SE Asia & East Asia and South America?

Edit: I want to note that Mexico is part of North America; I am specifically asking for direct flights to/from the South American continent.

  • I did hear a rumor yesterday about a flight between Mexico and I think Bolivia for $100, but I have no details. Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 8:15
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    I presume the reason for this is that all major South American cities are 15000+ kilometers away from East Asian hubs, which would make the flights one of the longest in the world.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 8:48
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    @JonathanReez: Indeed. But it seems that Chinese investment around the globe is making new business ties and hence direct flights that there was little call for before. Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 8:51
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    Flights from Asia, or East Asia.. cause theres a Dubai - Brazil flight which satisfies the question in the title ( EK 247)
    – Akash
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 14:43
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    @Akash I have edited the title to match the question. Thanks Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 23:56

4 Answers 4


I'm afraid you can stop hoping, because with current airplane technology, direct flights between East or Southeast Asia and South America are effectively impossible.

The maximum practical range of today's best planes hovers around 8,000 nautical miles. The longest flight ever flown commercially anywhere was Singapore Airlines' Singapore-Newark service at exactly 9,000 nm (on the return leg), but this was possible only with favorable winds and using a modified business-only configuration, and the flight between two economic powerhouses still was terminated as unprofitable.

Unfortunately for you, all economically feasible routes between Asia and South America are longer than 9000nm. Tokyo to Lima clocks in at 9600nm, while Singapore or Bangkok to Lima would be an even more infeasible 12000nm. Flights to larger and thus more attractive cities in Brazil, Chile or Argentina would be even longer!

  • 3
    Great answer. I just looked at this cool distance calculator, and compared it to this list of the longest flying airplanes. So the "only" change required is improved aircraft distance. Technology will get there eventually, might be 10/20 years though. Mind if I leave the question open until then? Or should I mark this as correct, and change it in the distant future? Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 12:03
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    @axsvl77 you're very optimistic in believing Stackexchange will still be here in 20 years time :)
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 12:17
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    The 777-200LR has already flown 22 hours, 22 minutes non-stop for a distance of 11,664 nmi in a test flight. However, I'm not sure that any civil aviation authorities actually allow flights that long in passenger service. IIRC, 16 hours is the maximum that the FAA will allow with a 4-pilot augmented flight crew, for example. That Boeing test flight had 8 pilots on board.
    – reirab
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 22:19
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    It's also worth noting that the typical position of the Northern polar jet stream makes East-bound Pacific crossing much more economical (and much faster) to the U.S. West coast than to places South of California, so that's yet one more reason that airlines prefer to stop in SFO or LAX between East Asia and South America.
    – reirab
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 22:23
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    One of the reasons Singapore Airlines stopped the route is because the Airbus A340-500's fuel economy. After Airbus agreed to buy those A340-500s back the airline stated that they'll restart the route with the much more efficient A350-900ULR
    – phuclv
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 10:21

Is going via Australia or New Zealand not an option? Qantas 27 runs direct from Sydney to Santiago, Chile every other day, while LAN Chile 800 runs the same route daily with an intermediate stop in Auckland, NZ. There's also Air New Zealand 30 that flies from Auckland to Buenos Aires, Argentina, but it's Fri-Sun-Tues only.

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    Don't forget Air New Zealand flying to Buenos Aires as well...
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 15:47
  • @MarkMayo -- are you sure that's not a codeshare with LAN Chile? Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 0:01
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    It's NZ30/31; it's almost certainly a codeshare with many airlines, but it's an Air NZ 777-200 operating it. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 6:29
  • @UnrecognizedFallingObject LAN is OneWorld, AirNZ just started operating that rounte last year, goes to BA, while LAN goes to SCL (and I believe codeshares with QF)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 14:01
  • Transit visa for every hop, such a political mess. Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 5:46

The only flight I know of along that route is on AeroMexico; Narita - Mexico City (AMX57), Mexico City - Lima (AMX48).

That is a nearly 12 hour flight on the 787-800.

Other than that, all other options are through either Canada / US; or the other way around from Europe / Middle East.

For direct flights to South America; I only know of Emirates 261 and Qatar Airways 0773 - both are to Sau Paulo.

If you want to get to Lima, it is quicker to go from Sao Paulo to Lima (flight time 5 hours 15 minutes) vs. Mexico City to Lima (5 hours 50 minutes); however it is longer to get from Tokyo to Sau Paulo.

Your best option is the AeroMexico flight. It will save you approx 10 hours.

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    Mexico is 7 countries north of South America. Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 8:49
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    @hippietrail This might be the closest there is Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 8:55
  • He originally asked for Mexico, then added this I am specifically asking for direct flights to/from the South American continent. Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 8:56
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    @BurhanKhalid: I asked a previous question the other day which was about Mexico, but it looks like this one has been about South America from the original edit. Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 9:13
  • While NRT->MEX is 12 hours (yay jet stream,) MEX->NRT is more like 14.
    – reirab
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 22:27

Thanks to the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft's aviation range, Japan's airlines All Nippon Airways [ANA] flies the NRT-MEX route same as Aeromexico's AMX57, since 15th February 2017.

ANA's article about the launch can be accessed here -> https://www.ana.co.jp/group/en/pr/201611/20161110.html.

a better read is here -> https://airwaysmag.com/airlines/ana-mexico-city-first-asian-carrier-fly-nonstop-latin-america/

  • 3
    Unfortunately Mexico is not in South America so your suggestion will not help the OP.
    – mdewey
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 13:56
  • Getting closer! Any year now! Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 14:20

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