As part of its restructuring process, LATAM Airlines Group decided to retire LATAM Brasil’s eleven Airbus A350-900 airliners immediately. It also announced that all international routes to and from Chile would be suspended, allowing its Chilean subsidiary’s Dreamliners to carry out long-haul flights to and from Brasil.
In a letter sent to the company’s employees on April 8, 2021, LATAM Brasil CEO Jerome Cadier explained that seven aircraft were out of the fleet “immediately”, with the other four due to be following by the end of the following week. The fleet of eleven A350-900 was grounded for lack of demand. The latest aircraft had been delivered on January 8, 2021.
Here’s the personally signed letter by the CEO announcing their departure. pic.twitter.com/VmhPFknIbP— Jan-Hendrik Fiedler (@FlyingFan1) April 8, 2021
This sudden retirement means that LATAM Brasil’s long-haul fleet is currently entirely constituted of Boeing aircraft, namely seven 767s and six 777s. But the carrier will eventually be able to count on a new addition. LATAM Brasil has already filed a request for adding a new aircraft model, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, to the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC).
The aircraft should be deducted from the fleet of LATAM Chile, according to the local aviation portal Contato Radar. From April 5 to 30, 2021, LATAM has suspended all international routes to and from Chile, with only a few repatriation flights remaining in operation due to the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Financially troubled LATAM to auction its aircraft
In March 2021, LATAM had announced it would auction seventeen of its aircraft, including two Airbus A350s, four Boeing 787s, and eleven single-aisle aircraft, in an attempt to improve its financial situation. The auction is due to take place on April 14, 2021, and is organized by the lessor SkyWorks Leasing.
The airline group ended 2020 with a net loss of $4.5 billion, as its revenue plummeted by 58.4% to $4.3 billion. Overall, LATAM carried 28.2 million passengers – a drop of 61.9% compared to 2019, when the airline group welcomed 74.1 million travelers onboard its aircraft.
In May 2020, LATAM Airlines entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and was joined by LATAM Brazil in July 2020, while LATAM Argentina closed down operations a month prior.