The Latin American airline will grow its cargo fleet substantially within the coming three years by transfiguring as many as 8 Boeing 767-300 Extended Range passenger aircraft into freighters. The conversions, done by the aircraft’s producer Boeing, will be accomplished in two steps.
In phase one, taking until 2022, four aircraft will be changed from pax to cargo. Once the first phase is completed, LATAM Cargo’s fleet would comprise a total of 15 Boeing converted 767-300 freighters (BCF). Upon completion of that phase, LATAM’s cargo operators’ fleet would reach a total of 15 Boeing 767-300ER freighters. The second phase includes four conversion options with Boeing that would allow aircraft to be added between 2022 and 2023. If all options are executed LATAM would operate a total of 19 767-300ER freighters.
It is followed by phase 2 with another four units to be turned into freighters. Provided, the options are executed according to plan, LATAM would operate a total of 19 767-300ER freighters by 2023, corresponding a capacity leap of up to 80% compared to the carrier’s current uplift capabilities.
The fleet growth will allow LATAM Cargo to reinforce its operations between North and South America and up the number of European flights. Another advantage is that LATAM Cargo will be able to up its activities in the sub-continent’s key flower markets of Ecuador and Colombia, capturing a larger portion of the business.
The intended fleet expansion which is scheduled to be accomplished within the next 30 months provides forwarding agents and shippers with more capacity and network options. How much LATAM Cargo has to pay for the conversion, the management does not reveal. In a release, Roberto Alvo, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group, only speaks of “an investment,” which, “together with the significant cost efficiencies that we have generated during the Chapter 11 process, puts us closer to achieving our aspiration of being the best alternative for cargo customers.”
Benefitting from uniform cargo fleet
Andrés Bianchi, LATAM Cargo’s CEO, highlights the advantages of the Boeing 767-300ER freighter. “Combining the passenger belly operations of LATAM Airlines Group with Boeing 767-300ER freighters efficiently strengthens our customer value proposition. These conversions will allow our affiliates to expand their network in domestic markets where e-commerce is rapidly generating an increase in air cargo traffic."
In summary the executive says that growing with Boeing 767-300BCFs is extremely efficient. “It is the optimal aircraft for all these undertakings and we can take advantage of the benefit of operating a single fleet type.”
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