Latam Airlines Group, Latin America’s largest air carrier, filed for bankruptcy court protection in New York on Tuesday, following the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating impact on the travel industry.
The Chilean carrier will continue operating and working on plans to pay creditors while the Chapter 11 filing is processed.
“Exceptional circumstances have led to a collapse in global demand and has not only brought aviation to a virtual standstill, but it has also changed the industry for the foreseeable future,” CEO Roberto Alvo said in a statement.
The Santiago-based Latam’s shareholders include Chile’s Cueto family and Delta Air Lines from the US. It has recently cut more than 1,850 jobs in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru from its global workforce of about 40,000 people.
Latam’s affiliates in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina are not part of the bankruptcy case.
Airlines all over the world have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic after several countries imposed travel bans.
Avianca Holdings, the largest air carrier in Colombia, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier in May.
Across South America and the Caribbean, coronavirus cases have risen to nearly 800,000, with over 41,500 registered deaths.
Brazil, with almost 375,000 cases and 23,500 deaths, is the epicenter of the outbreak in South America.
Chile has nearly 74,000 cases and over 760 deaths.
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