Latam airline cuts operations by 70% over pandemic

Chilean-Brazilian airline Latam, the biggest in Latin America, announced on Monday a 70 percent reduction in its operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company has been affected by travel restrictions imposed by governments in the region "and the subsequent fall in demand" due to the virus outbreak.

Latam, which had already reduced operations by 30 percent on Thursday, said international flights would be cut by 90 percent with a 40 percent drop in domestic ones.

"We took this complex decision due to the impossibility of flying to a large number of our destinations due to border closings," said Latam's commercial vice-president Roberto Alvo.

"If these unprecedented travel restrictions increase over the coming days, we're not ruling out being forced to decrease our operations even more."

He added: "The scale and unpredictability of this crisis makes it difficult to anticipate the results. That's why we're going to ask for support from the (regional) governments."

Latam offers services to 145 destinations in 26 countries. It employs more than 42,000 people and normally operates around 1,400 flights a day, transporting more than 74 million passengers a year.