Chile's LAN operating 45% of flights after earthquake

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Chile's LAN Airlines is operating 45% of its regular domestic and international flights out of Santiago after the recent earthquake, and is expecting to restore 60% of its operations by 7 March.

Santiago International Airport's domestic passenger terminal became operational yesterday for international flights, which allows for an increase in capacity, says LAN.

The international passenger terminal building was damaged by the 27 February earthquake, leading to a suspension of operations between 27 February and 1 March. LAN re-launched partial operations on 2 March from a temporary tent, which it installed to serve as a passenger terminal.

"LAN estimates that the company could recover approximately 60% of regular passenger operations out of Santiago by 7 March," says the airline.

Its passenger and cargo operations outside of Chile are operating under normal conditions, it adds.

LAN Cargo's operations were "not materially affected by the earthquake", says the carrier.

"Key in restoring cargo operations has been the flexibility of the freighter fleet's utilisation, including the redesign of itineraries to offset the decreased passenger operation of the passenger fleet to and from China," it adds.

The earthquake caused "minor damage" to five aircraft and certain parts and equipment, says LAN. These are being repaired, it adds.

It also suffered some damage to company buildings located in and around the airport, says LAN.

"None of this damage will have a material impact on the company's operations," adds the airline.

All of its buildings, aircraft and equipment are insured against earthquake damage. "The total amount of the insurance deductibles with regards to the affected equipment totals approximately $3 million," it adds.