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A LATAM Brasil 767-300 arrives in São Paulo/Guarulhos. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | João Machado)

LATAM Announces Expansion of Cargo Fleet Leading to 2023

LATAM Airlines Group announced the expansion of its fleet-converted-to-cargo growth plan, under which it expects to gradually add 10 Boeing 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighters over the next three years, totaling a fleet of up to 21 aircraft of cargo by the end of 2023. The first will be received by the end of this year.

Initially, LATAM’s cargo fleet growth plan included four aircraft confirmed with Boeing and four conversion options. Two months after the announcement, LATAM ratified the acquisition of these eight aircraft and announced the conversion of two additional Boeing 767-300ERs.

With this, the total fleet of cargo operators will be made up of up to 21 aircraft by the end of 2023, which implies that the group will practically double its cargo fleet and reduce the average age of said fleet from 17 to 14 years.

Between 2021 and 2022, the LATAM Airlines Group will receive four converted aircraft and, between 2022 and 2023, six more aircraft.

“The decision to expand the fleet is based on the attractive growth opportunities, the efficiency gains achieved and the flexibility that the Boeing 767F allows. As a result, it will be possible to grow profitably, even in scenarios similar to those faced before the pandemic. Thanks to this, LATAM cargo subsidiaries will continue to respond to the needs of their customers, and supporting the development of the region with better and broader connectivity”, declared Andrés Bianchi, CEO of LATAM Cargo.

Growing from 11 to 21 cargo aircraft will lead the group’s cargo operators to expand and reinforce their presence from, to and between South America, and to consolidate itself as the main group of cargo operators in the region.

With this announcement, the connectivity between South America to North America is reinforced. Specifically, the connection between Colombia and Ecuador is strengthened to support the export of the floriculture sector. Also, the export of salmon from Chile and its import market will be strengthened. And, in Brazil, capacity to and from North America and Europe will be increased, promoting both exporter and importer markets”, comments Kamal Hadad, Director of Alliances and Network at LATAM Cargo.

Hadad also adds that the flexibility of the cargo fleet allows LATAM to evaluate multiple alternatives. “For example, the two additional conversions could be used to renew the current fleet or to start new growth projects. The group has time to make the corresponding decisions”, he concludes.

For the time being, and after making slight adjustments, the distribution of the capacity of the first eight aircraft was defined to increase its offer in the relevant markets of its customers.

To benefit their customers in the short term, LATAM freight operators will use some 767-300ERs that are waiting to be converted under a hybrid format.

To this end, the cabin seats of three aircraft will be completely removed, to achieve a payload of up to 46 tons per flight. Two of these aircraft are already operational to provide more capacity and the third is expected to do so during the second quarter.

In addition, LATAM is increasing the similarity between its factory and converted 767-300 freighters to maximize their capacity, including the ability to transport delicate cargo.

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