UPDATE 1-LATAM Airlines mulls legal action vs Argentine hangar order

Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:43pm EDT

* Argentina orders LATAM to vacate Buenos Aires hangar

* Regional carrier says being targeted in Argentina

SANTIAGO Aug 21 (Reuters) - Latin America's LATAM Airlines Group SA said on Wednesday it is weighing legal action after Argentine authorities ordered the carrier to vacate its hangar at Buenos Aires' Aeroparque airport within 10 calendar days.

The decision is "illegitimate" and part of a wider set of actions against the region's largest carrier in Argentina, said Roberto Alvo, vice president for strategic planning and development.

LATAM's local subsidiary is state-owned Aerolinas Argentinas' main competitor. Interventionist policies have flourished under Argentine leader Cristina Fernandez, frustrating many businesses operating in the South American country.

"This is not an isolated action, but rather one that seems to be in line with an increasing level of actions against us and damaging our operations in Argentina," Alvo said during a conference call to discuss earnings.

Argentine officials did not respond to request for comment.

The decision, handed down by Argentina's National Airport Agency on Tuesday night, only affects domestic flights out of the Aeroparque airport, Alvo added.

"Even though it's early to evaluate the impact of the measure, we believe the decision is illegitimate and we will evaluate taking every legal action necessary to (uphold) our contract and our rights to full and complete effectiveness," he said.

The carrier has already faced issues in Argentina this year. State company Intercargo stopped providing services to the carrier for a few days in May, briefly forcing LATAM to halt all of its flights in the country.

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