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A LATAM Brasil A320 landing in São Paulo/Congonhas Airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | João Machado)

LATAM Brasil Outsources Ground Agents At Most Airports As Restructuring Continues

As LATAM Airlines Group reshuffles its operations and cleans up its financial situation as a part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, the group’s branches continue their streamlining and cost-cutting measures. The latest agreement — and one of the most relevant with respect to labour relations so far — was announced this week at LATAM Brasil. In an internal announcement, the company announced it would be outsourcing its ground agent jobs at almost all Brazilian airports.

According to Brazilian aviation outlet Aeroin, the change in the sourcing of the airline’s ground handling will be effective from the second week of May, with the exception of three airports, some of the most important in LATAM Brasil’s domestic network: Brasília, Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont Airport and São Paulo’s Congonhas Airport.

In Its internal communications, Aeroin reports, the company has told its employees that “the hiring of partners to undertake these operations at LATAM is in line with the market and follows a worldwide trend in the providing of services of this kind of specialized service,” adding that “this is an important measure at the moment, contributing to the economic sustainability of the company.”

From the start of the pandemic, and especially after the entry of the group and subsequently, of the Brazilian branch in the Chapter 11 process, the airline is engaged in the revision of labor costs. While its major competitors — Azul Brazilian Airlines and GOL Airlines — signed temporary labour revision agreements, LATAM Brasil tried to permanently reduce the salary of its flight crews. Met by huge backlash, especially from the National Union of Aeronauts, all potential agreements were rejected by the affected employees, even after 2,700 of those workers were fired.

LATAM Brasil said it had to pay as much as 30% more than its peers, which forced the revision as a matter of survival and maintaining competitiveness in the market.

The message ends by saying, “We know this is a tough and hard decision to be made, but it’s a necessary one. This way, we reinforce our respect to all affected employees and thank [them] immensely for the dedication, commitment and time of service to our airline. Parallelly, we continue working strongly to contribute to the professional relocation of these people.”

In Brazil, at many times the outsourcing might be a faster process than is thought, with the same employees shifted directly from the airlines to the outsourcing companies.

Finally, LATAM Brasil confirmed the decision in a press release, saying that “aware of its economic and social responsibility, LATAM is already in touch with the unions representing the impacted category to discuss the conditions and create an additional viable leave package, in addition to making all efforts to contribute with the professional relocation of all people impacted by this change. The airline created a website for curriculum register and will recommend the professionals to other companies.”

João Machado
João Machado
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