Why Are Domestic Flights in Peru So Expensive?

October 18, 2012

Most people taking Peru vacations are probably going to require 2 or more domestic flights. Unless you want to sit on a bus for hours on end, trying to get a few winks of sleep whilst the bus navigates winding mountainous roads – you are going to need to book a flight. Over the last few years the price of domestic flights in Peru has slowly risen. Nowadays a return flight from Lima to Cusco could easily cost upwards of US$ 500 per person. Buy why is it so expensive? And what can you do to get better tariffs?

I am British, and in the UK cheap low-cost airfares have been around for many years. I remember once buying a return flight from my home town to Rome in Italy for about US$ 75. So when I moved to South America to live, I was astounded by just how expensive domestic flights in Peru actually were. The flight to Rome took about 2 hours, yet a flight from Lima to Cusco is much less at only 1 hour and 15 minutes.

So Who are the Principle Airlines in Peru?

There are 4 principle airlines operating domestic flights in Peru, Star Peru, Peruvian Airlines, TACA and LAN Airlines. The first two are national carriers, and the latter two are South American owned airlines. The giant amongst these carriers is LAN Airlines, who recently merged with the Brazilian airline TAM to create the world’s largest airline – the LATAM Group. The LATAM group dominates not only domestic flights in Peru, but also South America and transcontinental flights to North America and Europe.


I live in Cusco, directly under the flight path of the airport, and I know how many flights come and go each day (ask me at 6.45am). But to give you an idea, I have actually worked through the flight schedules of one given day to find out exactly how many flights are scheduled for each airline. It goes something like this:

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LAN Airlines (LATAM): 18 Flights
TACA Airlines/Avianca: 5 Flights
Star Peru: 4 Flights
Peruvian Airlines: 4 Flights

LAN Airlines have 5 more flights per day than all the other airlines put together. Furthermore their tariffs for this route on average are the most expensive, having quite an impact on your Peru vacation costs.

After talking to many people in the Peru travel industry, it seems that the general consensus it that the LATAM Group are maintaining high prices for domestic flights in Peru, yet are offering greatly reduced tariffs if you purchase your international and domestic flights together.

Star Peru Plane just after takeoff

Star Peru

How to Get the Best Flight Deals

For the time being it would seem that prices for domestic flights within Peru are going to remain high. However, there are several things that you can do to make sure that you get the best deal.

  • Shop Around. Use comparison websites like Expedia (www.expedia.com) and Travelocity (www.travelocity.com) and check directly on the websites of all the airlines for the best tariffs.
  • Book in Advance. Get the best tariffs by booking your Peru vacation far in-advance – 6 or 7 months, perhaps more. Flights purchased closer to the date of travel always cost more.
  • Purchase your International and Domestic Flights Together. Although this plays into the hands of the dominating airlines, it would seem that the very best flight prices are available if you book your international and domestic flights in Peru together. LAN is part of the One World Alliance, so other you may be able to purchase your international flights with an affiliated airline.

This Peru travel information was brought to you buy the travel experts at Totally Latin America, experts in Peru vacation packages and travel. Contact Us Today for expert advice in planning your next trip.



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