Santiago-based LATAM Airlines filed for US bankruptcy protection late on Monday as global air traffic remained minimal during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The region's largest carrier, formed by a merger between a Chilean and Brazilian airlines early in the previous decade, reportedly had enough money to stay afloat for only a few more months.
«If they had a good income for several years, maybe they could have put up with a little. There are people who have sacrificed themselves. I have acquaintances who work in LATAM and they sacrifice themselves very much,» commented a Santiago resident.
The airline is apparently scrambling to secure credit and lobbying South American governments for financial support, following in the footsteps of Germany's Lufthansa which received a 9 billion euro ($9.9 billion) bailout earlier this week.
The company reportedly fired 1,800 employees in recent days, with plans for emergency restructuring.