LATAM airlines first quarter profit down almost half from year ago to $42.7 million

SANTIAGO, Chile – LATAM Airlines Group’s first quarter net profit has dropped by nearly half from the same period last year on lower cargo revenue and sudden changes in foreign exchange.

LATAM was created when Chile’s LAN took over Brazil’s TAM last year.

The carrier reported Tuesday a net income of $42.7 million compared to a pro forma consolidated — or simulated net income for both carriers — of $83.7 million a year ago. That represents a 48.9 per cent drop.

LATAM said its international operations continued to be hit “by increased capacity by international carriers flying to South America, especially from the United States, as well as weak European markets.”

The carrier said its results also were affected by the grounding since January of three Boeing 787 Dreamliners in LAN’s fleet.