LATAM Airlines Group estimates it is operating at approximately 67% of its pre-pandemic capacity this month, maintaining a trend of operational stability. The airline has had mixed recoveries, highlighted by Colombia and Brazil’s quick turnarounds from the COVID-19 crisis. Let’s investigate further.
Despite an uncertain international context, LATAM Airlines Group continues to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. The airline has had a strong recovery in several markets, mainly Colombia, Brazil, and the cargo segments. Moreover, LATAM will resume a flagship international route this month, the Santiago-Auckland-Sydney commercial service.
LATAM estimates a passenger operation of up to 67% for March, measured in available seat kilometers, or ASK, said the airline in a statement. In January, LATAM’s recovery was 72% compared to 2019 levels; it was 66% in February.
The airline group plans to operate approximately 1,029 daily national and international flights during March. LATAM will connect 135 destinations in 20 countries. This month, the airline will resume its Santiago-Auckland-Sydney route, one of the airline’s flagship services in South America. Moreover, LATAM also moved its international operations at Santiago de Chile International Airport from Terminal 1 to the recently-open Terminal 2.
LATAM will operate 1,029 daily national and international flights in March. Photo: Getty Images.
Colombia and Brazil, the highlights
Besides the booming cargo market, LATAM has also had strong recoveries in Colombia and Brazil.
The airline forecasts that the domestic operations in these two countries will drive the company’s recovery compared to pre-pandemic levels. In Colombia, LATAM has had a 165% domestic recovery compared to 2019, and in Brazil it is 101%.
LATAM Colombia is flying to 17 domestic destinations (equivalent to 181 daily flights) and five international. The latter segment has only recovered 59% of its pre-pandemic capacity.
Meanwhile, LATAM Brazil is serving 49 domestic destinations (equivalent to 490 daily flights on average) and 19 international. This summer, LATAM plans to fully restore its European capacity by relaunching its flights from São Paulo to Rome, Italy, and Boston, United States.
The other domestic markets for LATAM are Peru, Chile, and Ecuador. In these countries, the airline has had a 63%, 55%, and 34% overall recovery compared to 2019, according to data provided by the airline.
In Chile, LATAM moved its international operations to the newly-inaugurated Terminal 2 at Santiago’s International Airport. Photo: Getty Images.
LATAM’s results in 2021
Earlier this week, LATAM Airlines Group posted its full 2021 financial results. The airline had a US$4.64 billion net loss fueled by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis on commercial aviation.
Last year, LATAM carried 40.1 million passengers, still 45.8% below 2019 levels. Nevertheless, it is Latin America’s largest carrier by passenger numbers (and fleet as well).
The airline rallied through the year; in January, LATAM operated at a 39.8% capacity compared to 2019 but finished with a 70.1% capacity by December.
Roberto Alvo, CEO of LATAM said,
“We hope that the operation continues to recover to reach the magnitudes that we knew in 2019. We cannot lose sight of the fact that we find ourselves in an uncertain time, not only due to the effects of the new COVID-19 variants but now also due to the tension of a warlike conflict that has the world on alert and that has an impact on the price of oil”.
Finally, LATAM expects to emerge from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy process during the second half of 2022. It is currently awaiting the approval of its Disclosure Statement by the US bankruptcy court.
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