Latin America's Airline Apocalypse Signals a Future With Weak Competition

Bankrupt LATAM Airlines and Avianca Holdings are dramatically retrenching their once grand ambitions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing competition in Latin America as they mull once-unthinkable cooperation with rivals, Reuters reported. Since May, LATAM has exited Argentina, partnered with rival Azul SA in Brazil and cut back domestic operations in Chile, while Avianca has departed Peru. LATAM is now open to a deeper alliance with Azul, even as the two airlines usually control a combined 60% of Brazil’s domestic market. The scaling back could reshape air travel in Latin America, weakening competition regionally and driving up ticket prices while also helping some carriers survive. The moves show how the industry is already shrinking through attrition, as airlines are too cash-strapped to consider buying the competition. “More than consolidation, many airlines will disappear,” said Eliseo Llamazares, an aviation consultant at KPMG. Read more