LATAM returns to profit despite cargo remaining weak

LATAM Airlines
LATAM Airlines

LATAM Airlines Group has returned to profit in the third quarter of 2016 despite cargo revenues posting a double-digit decline and volumes continuing to fall.

The airline group made a profit of $4.7 million in the third quarter, compared to a $113.3 million loss in the same period last year. It made a profit of $14.8 million in the first nine months of 2016 compared to a $203 million loss in 2015. Third quarter revenue rose by 0.2 per cent to $2.5 billion but were down 9.9 per cent to $6.9 billion year-to-date.

Cargo continued to struggle, with revenue down 14.3 per cent in the third quarter to $265.6 million and by 19.4 per cent to $801.5 million in the first nine months. Cargo volumes were down nine per cent to 231,000 tonnes in the third quarter and by 6.6 per cent to 689,000 between January and September.

It says imports from North America and Europe to Brazil have improved though exports to North America were impacted by lower salmon industry production. LATAM says it is adjusting freighter capacity and maximising belly capacity in passenger aircraft, cutting available tonne kilometres on freighters by 16.4 per cent.

It says despite this, load factors were weak and capacity management could not keep up with declining traffic, falling a further 1.8 percentage points to 49.6 per cent in the third quarter.