LATAM Airlines reports $963 million loss in fourth quarter

FILE PHOTO: Passenger planes parked on a runway are seen during a general quarantine amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, in Santiago, Chile May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - LATAM Airlines Group, the region’s largest airline, on Tuesday reported a loss of $962.5 million in the fourth quarter, hurt by a second wave of the pandemic which has hit Latin America particularly hard.

LATAM filed for bankruptcy protection last May and is still going through a court-supervised reorganization in the United States.

Overall in 2020, the airline lost $4.6 billion, compared with a pre-pandemic profit of $196 million in 2019.

The airline had $1.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year, it said, buffered by significant new debt brought on during the bankruptcy process.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero and Marcelo Rochabrun; editing by Richard Pullin