LATAM Airlines Brasil has announced it will this week retire all 11 of its Airbus A350-900s from its fleet by the end of April 2021, as the airline continues to navigate out of insolvency.
The move was announced by LATAM Brasil CEO Jerome Cadier, who stated that the move would not result in any immediate layoffs of staff.
Cadier stated, “This decision, in addition to obtaining a smaller and more homogeneous fleet, aims at a more efficient wide-body operation to go through this period of less demand for seats in our international operation”.
The decision will see the Brazilian subsidiary operate an all-Boeing fleet, made up of 767s, and 777s.
Additionally, shortly after the retirement announcement, a local Brazilian news outlet reported that LATAM Brasil would be welcoming Boeing 787 Dreamliners to its fleet for the first time.
According to a filing with Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), parent company LATAM expects to reshuffle an undisclosed number of Dreamliners from its Chilean business now to Brazil.
The 787 will fill the mid-size long-haul aircraft gap left by the loss of the A350s, without requiring LATAM to acquire additional aircraft for its overall fleet.
In total, the LATAM group has 22 Dreamliners in its fleet, including 10 787-8s, and 12 787-9s – all of which are registered to Santiago-based subsidiary LATAM Chile.
It comes nearly a year after parent company LATAM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US, as the early days of the global pandemic decimated demand and threw the airline into financial crisis.
Four Dreamliners were returned to their aircraft lessor in 2020 as a part of the company’s restructuring.
However, the process of moving Chilean-registered aircraft to instead be operated in Brazil has raised concerns for labour unions, particularly amid ongoing pay and condition disputes.