Today LATAM Airlines Group announced part of its sustainability strategy for the next three decades. Among the initiatives, it plans to have zero waste to landfill by 2027 and carbon neutral by 2050, the airline said. Additionally, the fleet renewal program is also a fundamental pillar for the next few years.
LATAM’s fleet renewal program
The South American giant is currently renewing its single-aisle fleet. LATAM Airlines Group is retiring the older A320ceo and receiving the more efficient A320neos, despite being in Chapter 11 financial reorganization. Roberto Alvo, LATAM’s CEO, said that the current plan is to renovate the short-haul fleet during the next ten years. LATAM Airlines is currently at 25% to 30% of the fleet renewal program, he said.
As of December 31, 2020, LATAM reported a fleet of 300 aircraft, including four that were subleased. Nevertheless, in 1Q21, the size of the fleet changed when LATAM announced the imminent retirement of the A350-900s. As of May 5, LATAM has not yet published its first-quarter financial results. Nevertheless, LATAM’s fleet should be around 289 aircraft. This tally includes 44 A319-100s, 132 A320-200s, 12 A320neo, and 38 A321-200. LATAM Airlines Group received its first A320neo in 2016. The original order was for 67 aircraft of this model. The airline still has to receive 55 of them.
Sustainability initiatives for LATAM
LATAM Airlines Group currently expects to become carbon neutral by 2050. Nevertheless, it also has a few other initiatives towards sustainability launching in the next few years. They explained: “In a circular economy, LATAM Group is committed to promoting a culture of elimination, reduction, reuse, and recycling throughout the operation, in order to reach 2027 as a group that generates zero waste to landfill.” To do this, the airline will eliminate single-use plastics before 2023. It will also expand the onboard recycling program on all domestic routes and make LATAM’s lounges 100% sustainable.
Additionally, LATAM Airlines Group will implement a uniform recycling program in all countries. It also has a plan to replace materials onboard with compostable, recyclable, or certified items, it said in a statement. “We are facing a critical moment in the history of humanity, with a serious climate crisis and a pandemic that has changed our society. Today, it is not enough to do the usual. As a group, we have the responsibility to go further in the search for collective solutions,” said Roberto Alvo, LATAM’s CEO.
Finally, LATAM is also adhering to the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) program. The airline has a sustainability website.
LATAM’s latest developments
In 2020, LATAM Airlines Group posted a $4.54 billion net loss due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company lost 61.9% of its passengers compared to 2019, while cargo revenues soared. Therefore, LATAM Cargo announced the conversion of up to eight Boeing 767-300ERs into freighters. This conversion plan will be implemented in two stages; it will boost the cargo’s operator joint capacity by up to 80%. Currently, LATAM’s capacity is performing poorly. In April, LATAM Airlines Group operated at 25% of its pre-pandemic capacity due to the many government restrictions in South America.
Daniel Martínez Garbuno is a Mexican journalist. He has specialized in the air industry working mainly for A21, a Mexican media outlet focused entirely on the aviation world. He has also published on other sites like Simple Flying, Roads & Kingdoms, Proceso, El Economista, Buzos de la Noticia, Contenido, and Notimex.