MIAMI – In a statement made earlier today, LATAM Airlines Group announced the indefinite suspension of their Argentinian subsidiary, LATAM Argentina. This comes just a month after the group filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Chilean-based carrier is the largest airline in South America, formed by the 2010 merger of LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines. The group’s subsidiaries include extensions of the LATAM brand in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and now formerly, Argentina.

The carrier ensured that Argentina would not be completely left for dead. the domestic operations are being cut out but international flights will be picked up by other LATAM subsidiaries.

Other airlines under the LATAM brand will continue Argentina international flights
PHOTO: Vincenzo Pace

Pre-existing troubles at LATAM Argentina

LATAM Argentina has had a rough go overall in the past few months. Argentina instated one of the world’s strictest travel bans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is one of the main reasons the LATAM Group is citing for the suspension.

Additionally, Latin American governments have been among the most reluctant to offer federal aid to airlines, leaving the latter to fend for themselves as passenger numbers hit record lows.

LATAM is not alone in these struggles however, with the group’s biggest competitor Avianca Holdings having also filed for bankruptcy, and state-owned Aerolineas Argentinas seeing a 97% drop in revenue.

LATAM’s competitors are also struggling in the wake of COVID-19

Strategy for the Future

Included in the statement were these words from LATAM Airlines Group CEO, Roberto Alvo

“It is unfortunate but inevitable news. LATAM today must focus on transforming the group to adapt to post-COVID-19 aviation. Argentina has always been a fundamental country and will continue to be.”

The group is restructuring under their bankruptcy protection in an attempt to survive this industry downturn. The Argentine branch is not currently listed as part of this process.

It is not yet entirely clear whether or not the LATAM Group will close up shop completely in Argentina, although there are no public plans to resume operation.