Today, LATAM Brazil announced the immediate retirement of up to 11 Airbus A350 between this and next week. Therefore, the LATAM Airline Group’s widebody fleet will become a solely Boeing operator type, with 17 Boeing 767, 10 Boeing 777-300ER, and 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Retiring the A350, why?
LATAM Airlines Group received its first A350XWB in 2015. Now, six years later, the company has decided to retire all their remaining A350s due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a report signed by LATAM Brazil’s CEO, Jerome Cadier, the company is telling all its workers the latest decisions to keep LATAM simpler, more sustainable, and competitive within the airline industry.
Jerome Cadier said,
“Among these decisions, one is the restructuration of our widebody fleet in Brazil. Therefore, today we announce that seven aircraft A350 are leaving our LATAM Brazil fleet immediately; next week, another four will go as well. With that, starting this month, LATAM’s widebody fleet will be composed of B777/B767 and B787.”
What’s the objective?
With this decision, LATAM is looking to have a smaller and more homogenous widebody fleet. The South American giant is currently under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process and has already reduced the size of its fleet from 342 in December 2019 to 300 last year.
Moreover, due to the COVID-19 impact, LATAM is currently flying a minimal amount of international flights. According to Planespotters.net, the whole of LATAM’s A350 fleet is currently parked.
We reached LATAM Airlines for a comment on this developing story. The airline is currently working on a statement and will send it as soon as possible, a spokesman said Simple Flying.
We could see this coming
Last year, LATAM surprised everybody when it retired the first two A350XWB it ever received. Those birds are currently sitting in Victorville, California, and were recently announced to be part of an auction.
Jerome Cadier added,
“This decision, besides having a smaller and homogenous fleet, allows us to have a more efficient widebody operation to go through this lower demand period in our international capacity.”
He added that the company will continue looking for more ways to optimize its operation. Nevertheless, the A350’s exit doesn’t mean that LATAM will downsize its employee numbers.
“I want to highlight that this restructuration doesn’t mean the exit of cabin crew members in the short term,” Cadier said.
Other fleet movements from LATAM
Due to the Chapter 11 process, LATAM is currently going through, the airline has made quite a few decisions regarding its fleet.
For instance, it recently announced the conversion of up to eight Boeing 767 into freighters. This movement will happen between 2021 and 2023 and will increase LATAM’s cargo capacity.
Plus, the airline also recently retired four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which are also part of the auction we spoke about previously. Additionally, eleven A321-200s could exit the airline and enter the auction.
LATAM should present a reorganization plan later this year. When it does, we will have more clarity regarding LATAM’s fleet plans for the future. Nevertheless, we expect more retirements coming up.
Did you see this coming? Did you ever fly onboard LATAM’s A350? Let us know in the comments.