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LATAM Cargo fails to capture Latin American cargo upswing

Latin American economies are turning the corner, at least if airfreight is any indicator, yet beleaguered LATAM can’t seem to catch the momentum, posting a meager 0.8 percent year-over-year growth in revenue tonne kilometers (RTKs) in July.

LATAM’s strategy of cutting capacity in the face of dwindling demand for its cargo product seems to be continuing apace, as well, with available tonne kilometers down 5.3 percent, y-o-y, for July, and down 9.1 percent for the first seven months of the year.

The bright spot for the carrier is that capacity cuts are, at least, pushing up load factors, rising 3.1 percentage points, y-o-y, for July to 51.9 percent.

After years of declines, cargo traffic finally turned positive for Chile-headquartered LATAM Airlines Group in May and June. However, the recent change in fortunes failed to offset a dismal start to the year, leaving LATAM’s cargo traffic for the first six months of 2017 down 3.7 percent, y-o-y, to 1.61 billion RTKs.

In April of this year, Cargo Facts reported that LATAM Cargo had appointed Andrés Bianchi as its new CEO, as part of an ongoing restructuring process. Under Bianchi’s leadership, LATAM said it would focus on increasing competitiveness through productivity enhancements and improvements to its product portfolio.

The middling results thus far lag well behind the region’s overall growth in cargo volumes, suggesting that LATAM’s turnaround has not yet materialized. IATA reported earlier this month that first-half cargo for Latin America measured in FTKs had grown by 9.8 percent, y-o-y.

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