Aviation officials are asking Latam-Ecuador airlines for clarification of a weekend announcement that it plans to “outsource” its passenger service operations to other companies.
The airline, which has suffered heavy losses throughout South America as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, said it could not maintain its current personnel and operational infrastructure with a passenger load only 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels. “To face this uncertain scenario, Groupo Latam must transform its operating process to ensure long-term sustainability. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to outsource passenger service operations to other companies,” the airline said in a statement.
The airline said that the change does not affect its cargo operations which, it says, remained profitable in 2020 despite the pandemic.
Although it has not released numbers, sources report that Latam laid off about 50 percent of its Ecuador staff during 2020. Under the outsourcing plan, the airlines says it believes that it will transfer “the vast majority of its employees to an external agent” that will maintain passenger operations. “Faced with this difficult and painful decision, Grupo Latam thanks and recognizes those affected by this decision for their dedication and professionalism,” the airline said.
The airline offered no information about how the change will affect flight scheduling or airport operations in Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca and Manta.
A civil aviation official said he is waiting for more information about the Latam plan. “Obviously, we are very concerned about how this will affect passenger service since Latam is the country’s primary carrier. At this point, we do not know if the external company they refer to is another airline or an airport management company.”