MIAMI — LATAM Airlines has announced the launch a new budget model, planned to be implemented in the first half of 2017, for domestic flights in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
The plan will include fares that are up to 20% cheaper, while charging fees for checked baggage, food and drinks on board, selections of seats and booking changes or cancellations. Other services, such as in-flight entertainment through a wireless system, will remain free of charge.
“The new travel model seeks to satisfy the needs of today’s passengers, who value fast, convenient and seamless travel, as well as the ability to manage and personalize their travel experience, only paying for the services they require,” Enrique Cueto, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group, said in a statement.
Since the merger between LAN Airlines and TAM in 2012, LATAM has struggled to remain profitable, repeatedly reporting losses amid economic woes in key markets such as Brazil. Late July, Doha-based Qatar Airways announced plans to buy as much as 10 percent of LATAM for $613 million.
“As flight frequency in the region continues to lag behind countries such as the United States or England, where on average each person travels by air more than two times per year, Latin America still has much potential for growth,” Cueto said.
The airline expects that the new model will boost passenger traffic by up to 50% by 2020.