LATAM to rationalise widebody fleet

Washington DC
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LATAM Airlines group plans to reduce the number of widebody aircraft types in its combined fleet, and it will carry out a study to decide which aircraft types to eliminate.

Chile-based LAN and Brazil's TAM closed on their merger on 22 June. While both airlines operate Airbus A320 family aircraft in their respective narrowbody fleets, they have a widely diverse combined fleet of widebody aircraft, says LATAM's executive vice-president and chief executive Enrique Cueto.

LAN operates Boeing 767s and Airbus A340s, although it plans for the A340s to leave the fleet in the coming years. It also has 32 Boeing 787s on order. TAM, on the other hand, operates Airbus A330s, A340s and Boeing 777s. It has 27 A350s on order.

Having such a variety of aircraft types in LATAM's combined widebody fleet will result in inefficiencies, says Cueto. "We need to do a study to reduce the number of different aircraft types and see which ones we prefer," he adds.

The airline does not plan to place any new aircraft orders until it completes this study, says Cueto.

Despite having a bigger network following the merger, Cueto indicates that LATAM does not plan to place orders for ultra large passenger aircraft like the Airbus A380 anytime soon. "In the short term, there are few opportunities [for that size of aircraft]," he says, adding that LATAM would prefer to concentrate on opening new routes using smaller aircraft.