LATAM studies legal action against Argentina airport regulator

Mexico City
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Latin American airline group LATAM has vowed to study legal action against Argentina's state airport regulator after it served a notice on LATAM's Argentinian subsidiary to evict it from a maintenance hangar it leases in Buenos Aires.

"We will evaluate taking every legal action necessary to reinstate our rights," said LATAM chief corporate officer Roberto Alvo during LATAM's second quarter earnings call on 20 August.

Noting that the notice of eviction was "not an isolated action", Alvo says it is "rather one that seems to be in line with an increased number of actions aimed at damaging our operations in Argentina."

Alvo's harsh words were a departure from the usual diplomatic public statements made so far by LATAM executives when addressing a series of controversial actions taken by the Argentinian government against LAN Argentina.

Argentinian officials had in recent weeks said LAN Argentina would be forced to return a hangar it leases at Buenos Aires Aeroparque airport, but no formal action was taken until 20 August when airport regulator ORNSA sent a notice to LAN Argentina requesting it to vacate the hangar in 10 calendar days.

The hangar houses LAN Argentina's maintenance facility.

Alvo notes that the contract to lease the hangar was signed in July 2008 and is due to expire only in July 2023. While he says it is too early to assess any financial impact from the situation, Alvo says the airline will take all action necessary to ensure that LAN Argentina maintains its operations.

The hangar eviction is the latest in a series of measures taken by the Argentinian government against LAN Argentina in recent months, seemingly with the aim of reducing competition for state-owned carrier Aerolineas Argentinas. LAN Argentina briefly grounded flights in May after state-owned ground handler Intercargo refused to serve LAN aircraft despite an existing contract.