LATAM Has Already Distributed 50 Million Vaccines In South America

Since the COVID-19 vaccines became available worldwide, LATAM Airlines Group has distributed over 50 million doses in South…

LATAM Has Already Distributed 50 Million Vaccines In South America

Since the COVID-19 vaccines became available worldwide, LATAM Airlines Group has distributed over 50 million doses in South America. The company has achieved this goal, free of charge, using its “Solidarity Plane” program. Let’s investigate further.

LATAM has distributed over 50 million COVID-19 vaccines in South America. Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying

LATAM’s role in South America

South America is a continent that lacks the ground infrastructure to move goods effectively. There are not enough railways across the countries. Additionally, the landscape is pretty extreme, with mountains, deep rainforests, deserts, and more, all of which make ground transportation extremely hard.

Therefore, the airline industry is pivotal to keep commerce moving across South America. Being the largest airline in the region, LATAM Airlines Group plays a vital role in this market.

In a statement, the company said,

“LATAM has distributed more than 50 million doses in Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru; this is the equivalent to 40% of the doses administered in the region and 2% of the doses worldwide.”

The airline has distributed these doses in Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

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LATAM’s solidarity plane

To distribute the vaccines, LATAM uses its Solidarity Plane, a program with more than ten years of history.

This program seeks to generate value in society through connectivity, LATAM said. To date, it has mobilized in South America more than 1,800 health professionals and patients with urgent medical needs. LATAM has also carried more than 570 tons of cargo, including medical supplies and vaccines.

The airlift allows remote communities to transport patients, doctors, supplies, and even organs, tissues, and stem cells. But not only that, but LATAM also has an environmental solidarity plane, offering to transport scientists and members of environmental NGOs.

Roberto Alvo, LATAM Airlines Group CEO, said,

“We are honored to be able to contribute from our role to defeat COVID-19. We understand that our role is not only to connect this region with the world but also to contribute to the well-being of the communities of South America. That is why we will continue to make our Solidarity Plane program available to support the transfer of vaccines, people, supplies or cargo in health matters, natural disasters or care for the environment.”

LATAM Cargo fleet
The freighter division is one of LATAM’s highlights in the last few months. Photo: LATAM

LATAM Cargo, the highlight of the company

Due to many travel restrictions in South America, LATAM continues to operate at just 36% of its pre-pandemic levels. Nevertheless, the company has seen a surge in freighter activities.

Moreover, LATAM recently signed an agreement to convert up to ten B767-300ER to freighters with Boeing. The deliveries will happen in the next two years and will boost LATAM’s cargo capabilities by 90% while reducing LATAM’s passenger long-haul fleet.

LATAM, the most punctual airline in the world

Recently, the Official Airline Guide (OAG) and Cirium recognized LATAM as the most punctual carrier in the world.

According to Cirium’s, LATAM had a 94.68% punctuality percentage in May 2021. The South American company was the first place among Latin American operators. Roberto Alvo said,

“We are taking care of our customer’s time, and we make every effort to ensure that each of our flights takes off and lands on time. We will continue working with our teams to maintain this compliance.”

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WestJet To Launch A New Dedicated Boeing 737 Cargo Arm

Canada’s WestJet is moving to boost its cargo operations. The Calgary-based airline is launching a new dedicated cargo…

WestJet To Launch A New Dedicated Boeing 737 Cargo Arm

Canada’s WestJet is moving to boost its cargo operations. The Calgary-based airline is launching a new dedicated cargo service, using 737-800 Boeing Converted Freight (BCFs). WestJet expects to have its first dedicated freighter in the air by this time next year.

WestJet is beginning dedicated freighter flights in 2022. Photo: WestJet

“Our new dedicated commercial cargo aircraft are a natural evolution of the competitive guest services WestJet has successfully provided over our 25-year history,” says WestJet Cargo Executive Charles Duncan.

The right-sized plane for the standard body freighter market

Boeing calls its 737-800BCF aircraft the right-sized plane for the standard body freighter market. The fuel-efficient aircraft features CFM engines, a payload of 22.7 tonnes (there are 12 main deck pallet positions), and a 2,230 mile (3,750 kilometer) range.

“It (the 737 freighters) will provide cargo customers with the reliable on-time performance and cost-competitive advantage synonymous with WestJet,” Duncan said.

WestJet will start with one 737-800BCF aircraft. This plane is currently slated to start flying in the second quarter of 2022, with more planes in the pipeline.

Like most commercial airlines, WestJet has long used its passenger aircraft to fly freight. The 737-800BCFs will work in conjunction with the existing freight capabilities. WestJet says having dedicated freighters will offer customers greater flexibility and efficiencies.

“Dedicated, cost-efficient, and nimble narrowbody freighters will make WestJet Cargo a dynamic and strong competitor,” says Duncan.

WestJet has always carried freight on its passenger services. Photo: Getty Images

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Canceled passenger flights highlight vulnerabilities in global supply chains

The past 15 months have highlighted the role commercial airlines play in the supply chain, especially for perishable and time-sensitive freight. The vulnerabilities of the supply chain were exposed as airlines like WestJet curtailed their passenger schedules in response to the travel downturn.

Since then, many airlines have begun paying their formerly neglected freight operations some attention. Freight operations have since helped financially prop up many airlines and subsidize underperforming passenger operations.

Competitor Air Canada saw the value of freight last year and began converting older Boeing 767-300ERs from its Rouge fleet into dedicated freighters. Seven 767-300ERs are currently undergoing passenger to freighter (P2F) conversions by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Recently Air Canada said its first converted 767 freighters would soon begin flying to Central and South America.

WestJet thinks its dedicated freighters will offer Air Canada some much-needed competition. Photo: Getty Images

Boeing 737-800BCFs help put WestJet into the box seat

WestJet is slightly slower off the mark. But the airline sees its dedicated cargo aircraft as a competitive alternative to the Air Canada product.

“Our collective goal at WestJet has been to provide competitive prices and superior service levels,” said , WestJet, President and CEO. “As we launch our dedicated cargo service, into a market that maintains an even greater need for competitive choice than what we saw in 1996, it is our commitment to provide customers with more choice, decreased costs, and exceptional customer service.”

With scheduled international passenger flights still significantly down, airlines with dedicated freighter aircraft have an edge in capturing cargo market share. Boeing says the dedicated freighter market will grow more than 60% to 3,260 planes over the next two decades.

Boeing forecasts air freight between North and South America to grow 2.6% annually over the next two decades. Air freight between North America and North Asia (including China) is expected to grow 4.3% annually. With its previous experience operating international services, WestJet is positioning nicely to capture a piece of the action.

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