Photo: Clement Alloing

MIAMI – 2021 projections for Chilean aviation, centered on LATAM Airlines (LA), JetSMART (JA), and Sky Airlines (H2) were released by airline executives at the recent Business Travel Expo.

JA, estimating operations to be between 60% and 65% of domestic capacity and between 15% and 20% of international capacity in December hopes for 2021 to be a year of recovery.

CEO Estuardo Ortiz said JA “[chose] rather to accelerate our opening of domestic operations and that is why we expect to operate in Peru in the second quarter of 2021” along with “finalizing [cargo operations] to start in the first quarter of 2021”, both projects were originally set to begin operating in 2022.

LATAM Airbus A320. Photo: Rafael Luiz Canossa.

Emerging from Chapter 11

LA CEO Roberto Alvo predicted that 2021 will be a year of nuanced recovery for his airline, which is estimated to operate at around 40% of capacity in December.

The airline recently had two Airbus A320s damaged in a pushback incident.

Mr. Alvo also said that “the transformation we are embarking on is extremely important and we are going to emerge from Chapter 11, strengthened” before referencing the coming of a “very competitive cost structure” allowing for competition with JA and H2.

LA is expected to emerge from Chapter 11 in the second half of 2021.

Sky Airlines Airbus A319 Photo: By Sky KoreSCL – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

A Domestic Strategy

Sky Airlines is currently operating at 65% of capacity with an expectation to reach around 80% of capacity by the end of the year with an emphasis on domestic operations.

As H2 CEO José Ignacio Dougnac explained, “80% of our flights are domestic – we have a position that is relatively better than other operators where they have a lot of risk in international operations”.

Mr. Dougnac further estimated that by the end of 2021 H2 could see a complete recovery in passenger traffic levels with growth in international travel beginning in the summer of 2021.

On the whole, Chilean aviation despite the COVID-19 pandemic does not have the bleak future, rather it has one that will take it on a path of slow, nuanced recovery.

Featured image: Clement Alloing