Breaking: LATAM To Completely Wind Down Argentinian Arm

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LATAM Airlines Argentina has announced that it will cease all operations indefinitely. The airline made a statement on June 17th, saying that all national and international routes with the carrier were canceled until further notice. However, the subsidiary has since changed its announcement to close the Argentinian arm completely.

Passengers boarding LATAM Argentina
LATAM Argentina will close permanently. Photo: Getty Images

LATAM Argentina to cease operations

No one could have expected the scale of COVID-19 impact on the world and its airlines. Such is the reality for airlines like LATAM Airlines Argentina, that have been caught in the crossfire of the pandemic.

Last week, we reported that LATAM Argentina had announced it was suspending operations “until further notice.” Since then, LATAM has now decided to shut its Argentinian operation completely.

As of Wednesday last week, LATAM Argentina stopped all services to its 12 national destinations, including to and from:

  • Buenos Aires;
  • Iguazú;
  • Bariloche;
  • Mendoza; and
  • Ushuaia.
LATAM
International routes within the Americas will be flown by other LATAM subsidiaries. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

In addition, the airline said that it would cease the four international routes that it serviced within the Americas. The carrier’s routes to Brazil, Chile, Peru, and the US will now be flown by another arm of the LATAM Airlines Group.

What happens now?

LATAM Argentina blames its recent struggles and ultimate fate on the coronavirus pandemic, which has had a devastating impact on profits. With a few more months before travel demand could return to healthier levels, LATAM has been unable to support its Argentinian arm. It said that everything had been done to save the airline. Ultimately, however, no solution could create long-term sustainability.

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In a statement on its website, LATAM said,

“This is a very difficult but unfortunately inevitable decision, against which the company has made every possible effort. After 15 years of uninterrupted presence and after having crossed numerous obstacles…it is not possible to visualize continuity alternatives for operations.”

LATAM
LATAM says there was no long-term viable solution. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

As well as the closure of its 16 national and international routes, LATAM Argentina will also say goodbye to its fleet of 13 Airbus A320s and nine Boeing 767s as well as the redundancies of 1,700 staff.

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In addition, its cargo operations will be divided between the remaining LATAM Airlines subsidiaries. Every week until its collapse, LATAM Argentina was pivotal in transporting 270 tonnes of exports as well as 290 tonnes of essential imports. More recently, it was also responsible for the repatriation of some 16,000 Argentines back to their home country when borders closed. 9,000 foreign nationals also flew with their airline as part of its repatriation scheme.

How will customers be affected?

For those customers booked with LATAM Argentina, there are a few options. Anyone with tickets for national services will be able to receive a credit card refund. These will be issued within 30-45 days. Those who booked by another payment method should consult the airline for further information.

LATAM Argentina office, people waiting
There are still options for LATAM Argentina customers. Photo: Getty Images

Those with international bookings with LATAM Argentina can apply for a travel voucher with any other LATAM airline, which will be valid until December 31st, 2021. For any other inquiries, passengers should speak with the airline.

While today is a sad time for LATAM Argentina, there is at least some consolation for passengers in the form of alternative travel with LATAM. Argentina still retains its largest airline, Aerolineas Argentinas, and with any luck, this airline will be able to recover post-pandemic.

Do you have any fond memories of LATAM Argentina? Share your thoughts on this latest development in the comments below.

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