LATAM revises downward 2013 capacity guidance

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LATAM Airlines Group has revised downward its capacity guidance for 2013, following a decision to reduce aircraft deliveries from now until 2015.

The carrier now expects full-year available seat kilometres (ASKs) growth to remain flat or grow up to 2%. LATAM had previously estimated systemwide capacity to grow 2% to 4% in 2013.

The airline announced in its second quarter financial results released on 20 August that it would take delivery of 22 fewer aircraft than planned from 2013 to 2015, citing weaker macroeconomic conditions in Latin America.

Under the new guidance, LATAM will reduce full-year domestic capacity in Brazil by 7% to 9%, from 5% to 7% previously. It expects capacity to Spanish-speaking countries in its network to grow by 12% to 14%.

Cargo traffic is expected to remain flat or grow up to 2% in 2013, largely due to the addition of two new Boeing 777 freighters in September and October 2012 and additional belly capacity, says the airline group.

LATAM expects its full-year operating margin to be between 4% and 6%. The carrier, which has not provided operating margin guidance before, says it will now do so on a quarterly basis to "provide greater visibility to the investor community".