SANTIAGO (AFP) – LATAM Airlines said on Friday it would lay off 1,400 employees in South America, blaming a drastic slump in business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Despite all the efforts we have made to take care of jobs, we are forced to make this difficult decision,” said Roberto Alvo, Executive Director of the Chilean-Brazilian carrier.
“The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are profound and makes reducing the size of the LATAM group inevitable to protect its sustainability in the medium term,” Alvo said in a statement.
The jobs will be cut from operations in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, the carrier said.
A merger of Chile’s LAN and Brazil’s TAM, the airline announced last month it was scaling back its operations by 95 per cent in response to the global health crisis.
LATAM normally flew to 145 destinations in 26 countries, with around 1,400 flights a day.
Friday’s redundancy plan is in addition to the voluntary retirement programme announced last week by the group, which provides for the departure of another 800 people in the six countries where it operates.
The global aviation industry has suffered a severe blow from the pandemic, directly affected by border closures and population lockdowns.