Brutally affected by the drop in passenger demand during the Covid-19 pandemic, LATAM decided to stop operating the Airbus A350, its most modern jet.
The decision was announced by the CEO of LATAM Brasil, the largest subsidiary of the South American group, through a message to employees.
The executive chief of the Brazilian division, Jerome Cardier, said that “today we announce that at this moment seven A350 aircraft will no longer be part of the LATAM Brasil fleet; and next week, another four.”
The restructuring of the long-haul aircraft fleet will allow LATAM to operate three models, the Boeing 767, the base of the network, the 777-300ER (used only in Brazil) and 787 Dreamliner (which flies in the Chilean division).
LATAM Brasil currently has 10 Boeing 777-300ER and 13 767-300. There are still another 26 767 aircraft in the group in addition to 22 Dreamliner (10 787-8 and 12 787-9).
The end of the A350-900 operation is not surprising since LATAM has never used the aircraft as an important part of the fleet. Ordered by its predecessor, TAM , the advanced widebody was received from 2015, still in the colors of the Brazilian airline, but the merger with LAN made it the secondary model in the group’s strategy.
Shortly thereafter, LATAM transferred some new aircraft to Qatar Airways while deciding the future of the Airbus jet.
At LATAM, the A350-900 was configured with 339 seats, 30 of them executive and 63 in the economic plus ‘LATAM +’. It is a very high capacity, only surpassed by the 777-300ER, an aircraft that the airline even thought of retiring, but which has survived.
The end of flights with the A350 also marks the end of a 23-year cycle in which the airline’s Brazilian division operated Airbus widebody jets. The debut took place in 1998 when TAM received the first A330-200 with which it launched its long-haul services. The carrier also used the A340 for a short period of time while waiting for the 777-300ER.