LATAM Airlines will reduce its operations by 70 per cent due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The airline said the cut is based on increased travel restrictions by countries it services and lower demand, spurred by people opting out of air travel due to the pandemic.
LATAM said the reductions are in line with the decline in air travel oth factors which has seen a 90 per cent drop in international flights and 40 per cent in domestic operations.
“We are working to ensure the group’s long-term sustainability and protect the jobs of LATAM’s 43,000 employees.”– Chief Commercial Officer and CEO-elect of LATAM Airlines Group, Roberto Alvo
However, the airline said it will offer its customers the flexibility to reschedule at no cost. “All customers with affected international and national flights from today can reschedule their journeys until December 31, 2020, at no additional cost,” the company said.
Chief Commercial Officer and CEO-elect of LATAM Airlines Group, Roberto Alvo, said “We made this difficult decision following border closures that have made operating to a large part of our network impossible. If these unprecedented travel restrictions are extended over the next few days, we cannot rule out further reductions to our operation.”
Further, the company said its customer service channels are getting high numbers of queries which have impeded its ability to tend to customers with “the most pressing requirements.” As a result, it has asked its customers to refrain from calling more than 72 hours prior to their flight.
Alvo said, “We are working to ensure the group’s long-term sustainability and protect the jobs of LATAM’s 43,000 employees. However, the scale and unpredictability of this crisis makes it difficult to anticipate results. This is why we are going to require the support of governments to overcome the greatest crisis in history for the tourism and civil aviation sectors.”
LATAM Latin America’s largest airline group, operating more than 1,200 flights per day, and transporting 67 million passengers annually. It has one of the largest route networks in the world, offering air services to around 140 destinations in 25 countries, with significant presence in six domestic markets in Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.