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Latin America’s stricken airlines facing long haul to recovery

By Agence France-Presse

Latin America’s beleaguered airlines will take up to three years to recover losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, and in the meantime desperately need government help, according to experts surveying the damage to the industry.

Latin America's biggest airline, the Brazilian-Chilean group LATAM, filed for bankruptcy in the US in May, after which its shares plunged 35 percent in the Santiago stock exchange ( AFP / Martin BERNETTI / MANILA BULLETIN)

Latin America’s biggest airline, the Brazilian-Chilean group LATAM, filed for bankruptcy in the US in May, after which its shares plunged 35 percent in the Santiago stock exchange (
AFP / Martin BERNETTI / MANILA BULLETIN)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates it will take at least that time for the region’s airlines to inch back to their pre-pandemic level for domestic and regional flights.

Long-haul services to the United States and Europe will take until 2024 to come back, it says.

“It’s a long-range view; it will not be short term. It will take a lot of work,” said Peter Cerda, IATA vice president for the Americas.

Evidence of the severity of the crisis came last week when the region’s two largest airlines, Chilean-Brazilian LATAM and Colombia’s Avianca, filed for bankruptcy in the United States.

With countries across the region in lockdown, flight activity has plummeted 93 percent from around 200,000 a day, with losses in revenue estimated at $18 billion.

AFP / PEDRO PARDO
An Aeromexico airlines plane lands at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez airport on May 20, 2020
Cerda says that figure is likely to increase.

The IATA official says the impact to the industry is even worse than the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

“We are going to have airlines that are not going to be able to recover, that will have to shut down their operations for good,” he said.

After almost three months of lockdowns and restrictions on movement across the region, airlines have run out of cash and government support is “urgent,” he says.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://business.mb.com.ph/2020/05/31/latin-americas-stricken-airlines-facing-long-haul-to-recovery/)

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