LATAM Airlines says agreed deal with Venezuela to repatriate funds

SANTIAGO, July 20 Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:17pm EDT

SANTIAGO, July 20 (Reuters) - LATAM Airlines, Latin America's biggest airline, said it had agreed a deal with Venezuela for the repatriation of funds owed to the company.

The total debt for fiscal 2013 of around $148 million would be repaid according to a payment plan proposed by the Venezuelan government and accepted by LATAM, the airline said on Sunday.

A number of airlines have reduced flights to Venezuela over a dispute over ticket sales revenue.

Venezuela requires airlines to sell tickets using the local bolivar currency. But carriers say they are not receiving approval to convert those earnings into dollars and an estimated $4 billion in revenue is stuck in the country, according to the International Airline Transport Association.

Santiago-based LATAM was formed in 2012 in a tie-up between Chile's LAN and Brazil's TAM.

(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)