LATAM Airlines posts $770 mln loss as pandemic travel restrictions linger

SANTIAGO, Aug 9 (Reuters) - LATAM Airlines posted a $769.6 million loss in the second quarter, the company said on Monday, as South America’s largest carrier continued to navigate a bankruptcy brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Total revenues in the second quarter of 2021 hit $888.7 million, down 62.5% from 2019, the year prior to the pandemic, the company said.

“This decline ... was explained by a 77.4% decrease in passenger revenues and a drop of 22.4% in other revenues, but partially offset by cargo operations,” the company said in a statement accompanying its second-quarter results.

LATAM filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States in May 2020, a process that is still ongoing. At the time, it was the world’s largest airline to take such action because of COVID-19.

The company said costs related to the restructuring, including lease renegotiations, had contributed to the loss.

LATAM’s operating expenses also fell 46.5% from the same period in 2019, as operations remained well below pre-pandemic levels, the results showed, reducing fuel costs, wages and benefits.

LATAM, headquartered in Santiago, also operates in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, as well as having international operations throughout Latin America, Europe, the United States and the Caribbean. (Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Fabian Cambero; Editing by Peter Cooney)