LATAM, the largest airline in Latin America, posted a net profit of US$182 million in 2018, some US$26 million more than the company made in 2017.
This is the airline’s largest profit since it was founded in six years ago, following the merger of Chile's LAN and Brazil's TAM, the company announced Tuesday.
In 2018 "the company obtained a net profit of US$181.9 million dollars, compared to US$155.3 million in 2017," according to a statement released in Santiago.
This is "the best year since the merger between LAN and TA” in of June, 2012, the company said.
The two firms joined forces to create the largest airline in the region and one of the 10 most important airlines in the world, with subsidiaries in Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Paraguay. The firm has more than 320 aircraft, flies to more than 140 destinations, employs 53,000 workers and transports about 70 million passengers a year.
The record gains were explained by the operating revenues that reached US$1.368 billion in 2018, two percent up on the previous year, with a 2.5-percent increase in passenger revenues and six-percent increase in cargo income.
Meanwhile, in the fourth quarter of last year, the airline reported a net profit of US$148.7 million, (Up US$81.5 million from the same period in 2017).
Last week, the airline announced an investment of US$300 million dollars in LATAM Colombia, to double its operations in that country in the next three years.
2018, year of highs and lows
For LATAM, 2018 was a complex year due to both the rising cost of fuel and the "political instability" that shook the region during presidential elections in Brazil, the airline said. Economic volatility and a soaring inflation rate in Argentina also impacted demand for international flights.
Despite this, LATAM achieved its highest profit in six years, "generated a cash flow after investments of more than US$1.1 billion," and also "continues to lower its debt and maintain healthy levels of liquidity," the firm added in its statement.