LATAM Cargo has modified its freighter itinerary in order to address the gap in capacity caused by the cancellation of passenger flights following the Covid-19 pandemic.
In spite of this, the company has managed to mitigate the current difficulties through its 11 B767-300 freighter aircraft, which make LATAM Cargo Group the cargo airline with the most freighters operating in Latin America.
In order to maximize the use of its fleet and address the gap in capacity, previously given by bellies in passenger aircraft, the company made significant modifications to its itinerary. These included routing changes and an increase in freighter frequencies.
The two first international flights operated using this strategy was on the Santiago (Chile) – Mexico City (Mexico) route in Boeing 787-900 aircraft, totaling more than 80 tonnes of cargo—primarily salmon. The same solution took place in Peru’s domestic market, where an Airbus A320 aircraft was used as a freighter in the Lima-Iquitos route in order to stock this place, which depends on air transportation due to its difficult access by land or sea. By using seat containers, the company mainly transported perishable products, medicines and general cargo.
“The difficulties imposed by this contingency, force us to seek alternatives to satisfy our clients’ needs. This new itinerary, designed and implemented at an unprecedented pace, will allow us to take advantage of our freighter fleet in order to partially meet the shortfall in belly capacity. We are working to provide our clients with more and better choices and serve as support for the region’s economy,” stated Andrés Bianchi, LATAM Cargo’s CEO.
Through this new program, the company has managed to satisfy its clients’ demand in their most relevant markets, protecting capacity for the Latin American export and import markets. On one hand, its freighter capacity between Santiago (Chile) and Miami (USA) increased fivefold in order to offer salmon exporters a robust solution. On the other, capacity between Europe and South America was incremented 20 percent, adding up to a total of 6 weekly frequencies that will allow the transportation of automotive spare parts, general cargo and medicines to South America, as well as transportation of perishable products to Europe. In addition, frequencies between North America and South America were increased by almost 15 percent, totaling 26 frequencies each week.
Furthermore, the company will begin operating the Santiago (Chile) – Los Angeles (USA) freighter route in order to offer additional capacity for salmon transportation and to ensure coverage in the United States’ West Coast. The return trip will be Los Angeles (USA) – Mexico City (Mexico) – Lima (Peru) – Santiago (Chile). This route will benefit the transportation of technology products, spare parts and health-oriented products.
“There are many difficulties, but we are aware of the key role we play in delivering supplies to countries, and we will continue with our focus on providing our clients with more solutions,” stated Andrés Bianchi, LATAM Cargo’s CEO.
The company owns a mixed fleet composed of passenger aircraft with bellies for cargo transportation and 11 B767-300 freighter aircraft. While the regular strategy is to use the freighters as a complement to the passenger aircraft’ bellies, due to the current circumstances, along with maximizing the freighters’ use, the passenger aircraft will be used as freighters. This way, the company will be able to increase its capacity for its clients.