Latin American airline group LATAM reported an operating profit of $39.4 million in the second quarter, but will reduce its aircraft deliveries in the next two years as it cites a weaker macroeconomic outlook in Latin America.
LATAM's operating profit in the second quarter is a reversal of the $117 million operating loss it posted a year ago.
Operating revenues were up 0.3% to $3.1 billion, while operating expenses fell 4.6% to $3.06 billion.
The carrier narrowed its second quarter net loss to $330 million, down from the $449 million net loss it reported for the corresponding quarter in 2012.
LATAM attributes its positive operating result in the second quarter to the integration between LAN and TAM, which completed their merger a year ago.
It also credits its efforts to rationalise domestic capacity in Brazil, the implementation of several strategic initiatives as well as decreased fuel prices for its improved result.
However, the carrier notes that macroeconomic conditions in Latin America, "with depreciated currencies in most countries and higher volatility", requires it to adjust its fleet plan.
The airline will take delivery of 22 fewer aircraft from 2013 to 2015, it says. This will slash its fleet commitments by about $1.1 billion as compared with a year ago. The 22 aircraft comprise 21 narrowbodies and one widebody.
During the second quarter, LATAM took delivery of nine Airbus A320s and three Boeing 767-300ERs. It returned two A319s, one A320 and one Bombardier Dash 8-200. It also sold two A318s. The carrier ended the quarter with 336 aircraft in its fleet.
With the changes to its fleet plan, LATAM expects to end 2013 with a total fleet of 327 aircraft, 317 aircraft at end-2014 and 334 aircraft at end-2015.
LATAM expects to incur additional costs of $50 million to $60 million as a result of the grounding of its three 787s between January and May, it adds.