MIAMI – LATAM (LA) has announced that over the next three years, it will convert up to eight Boeing 767s into Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF).
The plan, scheduled to take place in two phases, will see the first phase of four confirmed converted aircraft be re-delivered between 2021 and 2022. The second phase is not yet confirmed, with the LATAM Group possessing options for an extra four orders for aircraft conversions that would see deliveries between 2022 and 2023.
The extra aircraft will boost LATAM’s cargo capacity by upwards of 80%, allowing the airline to expand their domestic cargo operations as e-commerce becomes increasingly popular in South America.
The LATAM Airlines Group also specifically cited the Colombian flower market as a key aspect of their increase in cargo operations. LATAM Cargo played a crucial role in 2020; expanding its operations to deliver essential supplies to various locations in South America.
As with many other airlines around the world, LATAM operated cargo flights using passenger aircraft that were temporarily converted to freighter aircraft.
In addition, LA ventured into the Asian market for the first time, making over 80 flights to the region to secure medical supplies for South American nations.
The Boeing 767 BCF has proved to be a popular alternative choice for airlines looking to retire older Boeing 767s from passenger service. The aircraft were chosen by The LATAM Group for their versatility and levels of efficiency.
LATAM currently operates a majority of cargo flights from Miami (MIA) as a connection point before transporting goods to various destinations in South America.
Many airlines utilizing converted freighters as cargo jets in their fleet to boost their cargo operations. Some notable airlines that operate Boeing 767 BCFs are Uzbekistan Airlines (HY), All Nippon Airways (NH), Royal Air Maroc (AT), Atlas Air (5Y), and now, LA.
The LATAM Airlines Group already owns 11 Boeing 767F aircraft, along with 28 non-cargo Boeing 767s. It has not been made clear yet which branches of the Group will be converting their aircraft into freighters.
Roberto Alvo, Chief Executive Officer of the LATAM Airlines Group, said, “This investment, together with the significant cost efficiencies that we have generated during the Chapter 11 process, puts us closer to achieving our aspiration of being the best alternative for cargo customers.”
Andrés Bianchi, Chief Executive Officer of LATAM Cargo, stated, “Combining the passenger belly operations of LATAM Airlines Group with 15 to 19 Boeing 767-300ER freighters efficiently strengthens our customer value proposition.”
He continued, “Growing with Boeing 767-300CFs freighters is extremely efficient as it is the optimal aircraft for all these undertakings and we can take advantage of the benefit of operating a single fleet type.”
Featured Photo: Luca Flores/Airways