LATAM Brazil has operated the first international flight using its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet with a Brazilian crew onboard. The flight connected São Paulo Guarulhos and Madrid. LATAM expects to add more commercial services using the Dreamliner in the near future, following the surprising lease rejection of the Airbus A350 last year.
LATAM’s first flight with the 787
Last year, LATAM Airlines Group announced it would send a few Boeing 787 aircraft from its Chilean branch to Brazil. This movement would help LATAM Brazil cope with the capacity loss following the exit of the Airbus A350 fleet.
In August, LATAM Brazil received its first B787 Dreamliner, registration PS-LAA (formerly CC-BGO, in Chile). The Brazilian branch expects to receive up to four Dreamliners from its Chilean sister.
Since receiving the first unit, LATAM has been operating domestic Dreamliner flights across Brazil but with zero international services.
That changed this year after LATAM Brazil operated an international flight using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and a Brazilian crew. The airline used PS-LAA to connect Sao Paulo and Madrid on January 4.
LATAM expects to use the 787 Dreamliner on flights between São Paulo and New York, starting February 23.
Jerome Cadier, LATAM Brazil’s CEO, said,
“Traveling onboard a Boeing 787 with a Brazilian crew is another great delivery for LATAM’s customers throughout Brazil. At the same time, we are building a more homogeneous and modern fleet, which makes us increasingly efficient and competitive.”
Current LATAM Brazil international schedule
LATAM Brazil has a fleet of 141 aircraft, according to ch-aviation. It has eight Boeing 767-300, ten B777-300, and will have up to four B787-9 for long-haul operations. Some of the 767-300 will be converted into freighters in the next two years, though.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, LATAM Brazil’s international schedule is still below its pre-pandemic levels. According to Cirium’s database, LATAM Brazil is offering 1,024 international flights in January 2022, a 68.6% decrease compared to January 2020, before the pandemic impacted Latin America. The airline is offering nearly 250,000 seats, 65.9% fewer seats than two years ago.
LATAM Brazil operates most of its international trips using its Airbus A320 fleet, with around 48%. The remaining percentage is distributed among the different long-haul aircraft the airline has.
A recap of the A350 debacle in 2021
Last year, LATAM Brazil decided to reject the leasing contracts of its Airbus A350 fleet. The decision surprised the airline industry because LATAM’s A350 fleet was very young (the airline received its first unit in 2015).
LATAM decided to reject the contracts of the A350s and, instead, operate a single OEM fleet type. The South American carrier chose to stay with Boeing for long-haul operations.
Nonetheless, the exit of LATAM Brazil’s A350 fleet left the airline with a capacity gap in its long-haul fleet. On one side, it had nine Boeing 767-300s with a capacity for 221 passengers; on the other, it had ten B777 for 410 passengers, meaning there was a 189 seat difference. To address this gap, LATAM Chile and LATAM Brazil agreed to send the four Dreamliners from one branch to the other.
Have you traveled onboard LATAM’s Boeing 787 fleet before? How did you find it? Let us know in the comments below.