LATAM Airlines Group will cut international flights by a third as the world struggles to contain an outbreak of Covid-19.
The virus, now declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, has caused a precipitous fall in demand for travel – although South America has so far been one of the least impacted regions.
The LATAM measures will apply principally to flights from South America to Europe and the United States between April 1st and May 30.
“Faced with this complex and extraordinarily dynamic scenario, LATAM is taking immediate and responsible measures to safeguard the group’s long-term sustainability, while seeking to secure passengers’ travel plans and protect the jobs of the group’s 43,000 co-workers.
“At the same time, we will maintain the flexibility to take additional measures, if necessary, due to the speed at which events are unfolding,” said Roberto Alvo, chief commercial officer and chief executive-elect of LATAM Airlines Group.
The executive added that, given the current context, the company has decided to suspend its guidance for 2020.
LATAM will continue to uphold its strict safety and hygiene protocols to protect the well-being of its passengers, crew and ground personnel.
The group has also implemented special cleaning procedures for its aircraft, which have state-of-the-art circulation systems with HEPA filters that renew the air inside the cabin every three minutes.
Other measures include the suspension of new investments, expenses and hiring as well as incentives for unpaid leave and to bring forward vacations.
To date, demand in LATAM’s domestic markets has not been affected and the group has decided not to implement changes to national flight itineraries for the time being.
“We will continue to monitor the progress of the Covid-19 coronavirus, promoting the sanitary measures recommended by respective authorities and providing passengers with flexibility and the best connectivity to reach their destinations,” added Alvo.