LATAM sees declining cargo traffic in first quarter

Reporting its first-quarter operating results last week (the period ending 31 March), South American carrier LATAM revealed that cargo revenues fell by 10.9% year on year, down to US$263.5m, driven by a 12.6% decline in cargo yields – although this fall was partially offset by an increase of 1.3 percentage points in the load factor to reach 56%.

It carried a total of 215,000 tons of cargo during the three-month period, down from 225,000 in the same period of 2018.

Depreciation of regional currencies resulted in lower imports into the region, especially to Brazil and Argentina, LATAM said.

Furthermore, the sale of LATAM’s former Mexican subsidiary, MasAir, in the second half of 2018 reduced the carrier’s cargo revenues when measured subsequently on a year-on-year basis.

On the other hand, export markets continued to improve, especially salmon shipped from Chile.

LATAM’s total revenue decreased by 7.5% year on year in the first quarter of 2019 to US$2,525m, due to a fall in passenger as well as cargo revenues (cargo revenue accounted 10.4% of total operating revenue in the quarter).

At the end of 2018, LATAM Cargo was operating a fleet of nine B767-300 freighters. It expects to be operating a fleet of 10 of these aircraft by the end of 2019.

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