LATAM grows Q1 operating profit to $147m

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LATAM Airlines Group has boosted its first quarter operating profit to $147 million, a 28.5% increase from a year ago.

The carrier’s operating revenues declined 6.8% to $3.18 billion, and expenses fell 7% to $3.06 billion.

LATAM posted a net loss of $41.3 million for the quarter ended 31 March, compared with a net profit of $42.7 million in the same period last year.

When excluding non-recurring items, the carrier reported a net profit of $80.7 million for the period.

LATAM says penalties related to aircraft redeliveries due to fleet restructuring plans has led to $147 million in non-recurring costs during the first quarter. Of this amount, $34 million are recorded as aircraft maintenance costs and $112 million are posted as other non-operating costs.

The airline plans to phase out all of its Airbus A330s, A340s, Boeing 737s and Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s by 2016.

LATAM received four Airbus A320s in the quarter, and returned one Q400, two 737s, one A340 and one Boeing 767 freighter. The carrier also sold two A320s and sold and leased back four Boeing 777s.

The airline expects to phase out all remaining 737s, Q400s and A340-500s in 2014. It will also phase out one of three remaining A340-400s and seven of its 20 A330s during the year.