LATAM Airlines files for bankruptcy protection in US

Latin America’s biggest air carrier files for Chapter 11

LATAM Airlines files for bankruptcy protection in US
LATAM Airlines Group SA, the largest airline in Latin America, said today that it is seeking to restructure its debt, complicated by financial problems caused by coronavirus pandemic.
The largest airline in Latin America issued a statement today, announcing that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.

The filing will not affect reservations, employee pay, and flight vouchers, according to the airline. Passenger and cargo operations will also continue as normal.

“The US Chapter 11 financial reorganization process provides a clear and guided opportunity to work with our creditors and other stakeholders to reduce our debt, address commercial challenges that we, like others in our industry, are facing as a group,” LATAM’s statement said. “It is very different from the concept of bankruptcy in other countries and is not a liquidation proceeding.”

LATAM Chief Executive Officer, Roberto Alvo, cited COVID-related travel restrictions as a main driver for the decision to file for bankruptcy.

“We have implemented a series of difficult measures to mitigate the impact of this unprecedented industry disruption, but ultimately this path represents the best option,” said Alvo.

“We are looking ahead to a post-COVID future and are focused on transforming our group to adapt to a new and evolving way of flying, with the health and safety of our passengers and employees being paramount,” he added.

The voluntary reorganization will include LATAM’s affiliates in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and the United States. The airline, however, will continue to fly while it is in bankruptcy protection and its affiliates in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay were not included in the filing.

The airline operated more than 1,300 flights a day and transported 74 million passengers last year. It had more than 340 planes in its fleet and nearly 42,000 employees on its payroll, according to its most recent annual company report.

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