Rebound: LATAM Expects 53% Capacity Recovery In September

Slowly but surely, LATAM Airlines Group is recovering its pre-pandemic numbers. The carrier is currently operating at a 53% capacity, compared to the number of flights and seats available in 2019. But when will LATAM see a complete rebound? Let’s investigate further.

LATAM is operating at 53% of its pre-pandemic capacity. Photo: Guillermo Quiroz Martínez via @gquimar.

LATAM will operate 970 daily flights

During September, LATAM estimates approximately 970 domestic and international daily flights. It will connect 117 destinations in 16 countries, including Portugal, Spain, France, and Germany.

Additionally, LATAM Cargo has scheduled 990 flights using its freighter fleet. That number represents a 16% increase compared to September 2019. LATAM’s cargo division has been soaring through the pandemic, and the airline has high hopes it will increase its revenues by 58% in 2026 compared to its pre-pandemic numbers.

LATAM’s increase in its capacity follows an upward trend “noting a significant increase in Chile’s domestic market, as a result of easing restrictions and increased mobility within the country.”

Now, let’s see how each of LATAM’s markets is currently doing.

Boeing B767-316ER PT-MOF LATAM Brasil MMMX Aug 31 2021 AF 01
LATAM Brazil will play a key role in LATAM Airlines Group’s future. Photo: Guillermo Quiroz Martínez via @gquimar.

How’s the recovery country by country?

Last week, LATAM released its five-year business plan. The company outlined a slow rebound of international travel and a quick rebound of short-haul domestic and regional travel, mainly through the Brazilian market. Despite Azul’s controversial messages, LATAM’s central hub of operations will be in Brazil.

Nevertheless, LATAM’s current recovery has its best numbers in Colombia. In this country, LATAM is currently operating at an 80% pre-pandemic capacity. This rebound can be explained via the domestic market, where the airline has already added 14% more seats than it had two years ago. Internationally, LATAM Colombia is still at a 41% recovery.

In Brazil, LATAM is currently operating at 55%, an increase from August’s 49%. In the South American giant, LATAM has an 82% domestic capacity and a 20% international. Additionally, in September, LATAM Brazil has launched a new route between São Paulo Congonhas and Comandatuba.

In Chile, LATAM is operating at a 50% capacity versus September 2019. It has a domestic recovery of 86% and 36% international.

Finally, during September, LATAM’s operations in Peru and Ecuador will have a projected capacity of 51% and 31%, respectively.

LATAM Chile is currently operating at 50% pre-pandemic capacity. Photo: Guillermo Quiroz Martínez via @gquimar.

When will LATAM recover its pre-pandemic numbers?

In its five-year projections, LATAM forecasted that it will recover its pre-pandemic capacity, measured in available seats kilometers, by 2024. Additionally, it expects to grow 7% by 2026, compared to its 2019 levels.

In line with market consensus, LATAM forecasts domestic capacity will surpass 2019 levels at the beginning of 2022. The regional capacity may struggle a little longer due to heavy travel restrictions in countries like Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela. Only a handful of Latin American countries have open borders, like Colombia and Mexico. Peru recently announced it will receive vaccinated travelers without any restriction; meanwhile, non-vaccinated people only have to present a negative COVID test.

LATAM’s international market will rebound by 2024, said the carrier.

Finally, LATAM is forecasting to recover its 2019 levels of profitability by 2024. Additionally, total revenues are projected to increase 13% by 2026, with passenger revenues growing 8% and cargo revenues rising 59% compared to 2019.

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