COVID-19: Latin America market update (w/e March 29)

Routes' latest update on how airlines and airports across Latin America are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Welcome to Routes’ look at how the Latin America aviation market is responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, helping you understand the schedule changes and manage the impact so we can navigate through this crisis together.

 The data is supplied by OAG using its OAG Schedules Analyser tool unless stated. Please note: the COVID-19 crisis remains fluid as airlines around the world continue to make dramatic capacity cuts. OAG has taken several steps to ensure the data is as accurate as possible. 

LatAm capacity

There were large reductions in capacity across Latin America last week (w/c March 23), and the cuts are set to run even deeper for the current week. Across Upper South America, the number of departure seats declined by 42% week-on-week, while Lower South America experienced a decline of 28%. There were also drops of 23.7% in the Caribbean and 16.2% in Central America. Overall, combined capacity across all regions of Latin America fell by 28% to 6.5 million weekly seats.

At the national level, Latin America’s largest aviation market Brazil recorded the largest reduction in capacity week-on-week. There were more than 650,000 fewer departure seats last week compared with the previous seven days, equating to a 25% fall.

In Peru the reduction was 334,562 seats, a drop of 71% week-on-week, while Colombia’s capacity declined by 278,955 seats. Argentina and Mexico also recorded falls of more than 200,000 seats. The largest reduction on a percentage bases was in El Salvador, where the number of available departure seats fell by 79%.

LatAm airlines

LATAM Airlines Group slashed capacity by 27.4% last week, reducing the number of weekly seats on offer by almost 500,000. Since then, the group has announced plans for a 95% reduction in operations during April as countries continue to impose tighter travel restrictions.

In domestic markets, LATAM Airlines Brazil will continue flying to 39 destinations with reduced frequencies. In Chile, LATAM will maintain reduced frequencies to 13 of its 16 destinations, temporarily suspending flights to Castro (WCA), Osorno (ZOS) and Rapa Nui (IPC). The operations of LATAM’s affiliates in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru remain suspended due to national government restrictions. 

Internationally, LATAM and LATAM Airlines Brazil will both operate limited frequencies. In addition to flights between Santiago (SCL) and São Paulo (GRU), LATAM will fly from SCL to Miami (MIA) and Los Angeles (LAX) while LATAM Airlines Brazil will provide service from GRU to MIA and New York (JFK).

Avianca, GOL Linhas Aereas and Aerolineas Argentinas also recorded large capacity reductions last week, of 363,902 seats, 357,849 seats and 218,846 seats respectively. Avianca has since suspended its remaining routes, GOL has suspended all international flights from March 28 until May 3, and Aerolineas Argentinas has cancelled domestic flights until April 12.

Photo credit: Airbus - P. Masclet / master films

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