LATAM Airlines Group is planning a major expansion of its cargo operations with the conversion of up to eight B767-300ER aircraft into Boeing Converted Freighters in the next three years.
This expansion represents a freighter capacity growth of up to 80 per cent with the strategy based on leveraging the synergies of operating a single type of aircraft.
The rapid expansion will enable LATAM’s cargo affiliates to reinforce their operations from North America and Europe into South America, as well as expand operations in the flower markets of Ecuador and Colombia, the carrier group says.
LATAM envisages the plan unfolding in two gradual stages. The first phase is based on four confirmed conversion slots with Boeing with re-deliveries between 2021 and 2022. Upon completion of that phase, LATAM’s cargo fleet would reach a total of 15 B767-300ER freighters.
The second phase includes four conversion options with Boeing that would allow aircraft to be added between 2022 and 2023. If all options are executed LATAM will operate a total of 19 B767-300ER freighters.
“Despite the deep crisis the industry is enduring due to the pandemic, we maintain our commitment to support the region’s exporters and importers by providing them with more and better options to carry their cargo to their destinations,” says Roberto Alvo, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group.
“This investment, together with the significant cost efficiencies that we have generated during the Chapter 11 process, puts us closer to achieving our aspiration of being the best alternative for cargo customers,” Alvo adds.
Andrés Bianchi, LATAM Cargo’s CEO, highlighted the advantages of the B767-300ER freighter. “Combining the passenger belly operations of LATAM Airlines Group with 15 to 19 Boeing 767-300ER freighters efficiently strengthens our customer value proposition.
“These conversions will enable the cargo affiliates to grow in key segments such the Colombian flower market or imports to Brazil. It also allows our affiliates to expand their network in domestic markets where e-commerce is rapidly generating an increase in air cargo traffic.
“Growing with Boeing 767-300BCFs is extremely efficient as it is the optimal aircraft for all these undertakings and we can take advantage of the benefit of operating a single fleet type.”