LATAM Airlines Group said it will lease out three of its nine 767-300 freighters to another carrier for a period of three years as part of its strategy to rationalize its fleet and maximize the use of existing belly capacity for cargo shipments.
Created in 2012 from the merger of Chilean carrier LAN Airlines and Brazil’s TAM, LATAM did not disclose the name of the lessee in the transaction, but Cargo Facts (a sister publication to Air Cargo World) has determined that one of the three freighter has been re-registered to FedEx and a second is in the process of doing the same.
The 767Fs, along with four 777Fs, were initially ordered by LAN through Boeing or leased through GECAS for use by subsidiary LAN Cargo. Today, however, LAN Cargo no longer operates the 767 freighter fleet. Six of the freighters are now operated by other LATAM subsidiaries – ABSA in Brazil, MAS Air in Mexico and Lan Aerea Carguera de Colombia – and three are already leased to Florida West International Airlines, Cargo Facts reported.
LATAM cited an overall dip in Latin American imports as one of the reasons for leasing out the 767Fs. In its third-quarter report for 2014, LATAM reported a 4.8 percent reduction in operations, compared to the same period in 2013. Cargo traffic fell by 1.9 percent, year-over-year, while operating income plunged by 54 percent. Operating margins fell from 7.6 percent in Q3 2013 to 3.8 percent in the same quarter this year.
Even the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, which was held in Brazil and was supposed to provide a boost in business in June and July, failed to make a noticeable difference in the group’s revenues, due to a pervasive “stay at home” movement, LATAM said.