LATAM and Gol aircraft

LATAM Airlines says it is no longer interested in leasing Boeing 737s

The Chilean carrier sent a letter to lessors asking for offers for the jet, which it does not operate. The request occurred the day after the bankruptcy of competitor Gol Linhas Aéreas

LATAM Airlines said on Wednesday that it does not intend to lease Boeing 737 jets and will look for alternative aircraft.

“LATAM has been unable over the last several months – despite its extensive efforts – to obtain B737 aircraft from other sources unrelated to the debtors,” lawyers for the Chile-based airline wrote.

The scarcity of available 737 jets and the refusal of debtors to cooperate forced LATAM to look for alternative single-aisle aircraft, the carrier’s representatives further explained.

In January, a day after Brazilian rival Gol Linhas Aéreas filed a “Chapter 11” financial restructuring process in the US, LATAM sent a letter to lessors requesting Boeing 737 aircraft.

However, LATAM does not operate jets of this type, only the Airbus A320 family. To introduce a second model of narrow-body plane, the airline would have to set up a new training and maintenance infrastructure, as well as seek out pilots with 737 experience.

LATAM Airlines letter (Social media)

Unusual strategy

Operating aircraft of similar size from more than one manufacturer is considered an unusual strategy, except in the United States, where major carriers have large fleets.

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For Gol, the letter was an attempt to disrupt its renegotiation process with the lessors of almost 140 737 jets that operate in its fleet.

By demonstrating interest in these aircraft, LATAM would make an agreement difficult. The company based in Santiago de Chile, however, justified the option for the 737 due to the lack of aircraft.

Gol Boeing 737-800 (Rafael Luiz Canossa)

Later, LATAM spoke out again, stating that it was interested in any aircraft that Gol no longer wanted.

Gol is negotiating more favorable terms in relation to the leasing payment of around 90 737 MAX and NG aircraft.

The airline lost second place in the domestic flight market in Brazil to Azul Linhas Aéreas in March. LATAM leads with a 41% share in the number of passengers boarded.


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