Updated May 26, 2020 - Economy

LATAM Airlines files for U.S. chapter 11 bankruptcy

LATAM air attendants use protective gear.

A LATAM air attendant aboard one of the company's planes in March. Photo: Kike Calvo/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

LATAM Airlines Group SA said in a statement early Tuesday the firm and its affiliates in in the U.S., Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Why it matters: LATAM is Latin America's largest airline and its shareholders include Delta Air Lines. CEO Roberto Alvo noted in the statement the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the airline industry.

  • "LATAM entered the COVID-19 pandemic as a healthy and profitable airline group, yet exceptional circumstances have led to a collapse in global demand and has not only brought aviation to a virtual standstill, but it has also changed the industry for the foreseeable future," Alvo said.

The big picture: The Chapter 11 filing would enable the Chilean carrier to continue operations on a reduced schedule as it looks to restructure and pay creditors.

  • The group said in the statement it has secured financial support from shareholders including Chile's Cueto family and Qatar Airways of up to $900 million in debtor-in-possession financing.
  • LATAM has about $1.3 billion in cash on hand, the statement added.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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