LATAM Aiming for 74% of Pre-Pandemic Operation This Month

Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – This year, the LATAM group released a promising figure, with passenger operation up to 74% of 2019 levels in June. This is measured using available seat kilometers or ASK.

This is an impressive milestone since the demise of the pandemic. It looks like the airline is creeping towards pre-pandemic levels. 

Apart from nearly hitting pre-pandemic levels, the airline will begin flights to Puerto MaldanaPuerto Maldonado, and Cusco, in Peru, and will resume operations on three routes from Belém in Brazil to Macapá, Fortaleza, and Manaus.

This means that the airline group will operate 1,123 daily flights, both domestic and internationally as of June. This brings the airline’s network portfolio to 21 countries and 133 destinations. 

Cargo-wise, the airline has been performing quite well. It flew more than 1,220 cargo flights on its 767 freighters. As of the time of writing, LATAM has 9 767BCF in operation, and it is a major workhorse during the pandemic.

The cargo load factor reached 58% which is significant, as this is an increase of 1.6% compared to May 2019. 

Last month (May) 2022, passenger traffic levels RPK were 69.9% of 2019 (same month). However, if one looks at the over the operation, this number was at 73.1% in May of 2019. This means that the overall load factor declined by 4%, hitting 79.6% 

In the next section, we will see the country breakdown and a general overview of LATAM’s performance in that particular jurisdiction:

Brazil: Latin America’s biggest and populous country will see a projected operation of 80% of 2019 levels (June 2019).

In May of this year, an average percentage of operations was at 78%, with most weighed towards domestic at 102%, whilst international routes performed weaker at 60%.

One could comfortably say that the Brazilian domestic market has surpassed pandemic levels. The airline also resumes routes, such as Belém-Macapá (2 flights per week), Belém-Fortaleza (7 flights per week) and Belém-Manaus (3 flights per week).

Chile: The country did not perform well compared to its Brazilian counterpart, and it is expected to perform 59% of its total operations compared to June 2019.

Last month,  May 2022 fared better with the average operation capacity at  62%, with domestic being at 74% and international at 46%. 

Colombia: The country is expected to fare way above the hundred mark at 104% in operations. Last month, May 2022 fared better with the average operation capacity at  114%, with domestic being at 148% and international at 58%.

This is attributed to Colombia’s extensive route network and city pairings to Europe and North America. 

Ecuador: The country is expected to fare below 50% at 44% in operations of June 2022.  Last month, May 2022 performed worse than the average operation capacity at  41%, with domestic being at 122% and international at 21%. 

Peru:  The country is inching towards pre-pandemic levels at 70% of projected operations compared to June of 2019.

May 2022 performed slightly weaker than 2019 levels at 68%, where domestic operations stood at  92% and 62% for international levels.  The airline opened a new route from  Puerto Maldonado-Cusco (4 flights per week).

It looks like LATAM’s operation in Latin America is a mixed bag, with each country being a unique market in itself. Brazil is expected to be the best performer, as it is the continent’s largest economy, and is the most populous as well.

Landlocked country Ecuador, did not achieve well due to macro-economic problems and the lack of air connectivity to important hubs outside of Latin America. 

We will see a 100% in operations compared to the base year of 2019 one day, but it is expected that the ratio between domestic and international flights will be skewed, with domestic flights being the kingmaker.

Brazil is expected to lead the recovery in the region, followed by Colombia and Peru, due to its abundance of connectivity to the outside world. 

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