Latam Airlines Group has opened a new all-cargo route connecting Los Angeles and Houston to South America to support exporters of flowers and industrial products.
Latam Cargo, which operates 17 Boeing 767-300 freighters and plans to add four more by 2024, announced Thursday it is offering twice-weekly frequencies on the following route: Quito, Ecuador; Los Angeles; Houston; Manaus, Brazil; and Sao Paulo. The number of flights will increase to four times per week in the second half of the year after the carrier receives more new cargo planes.
The new service is focused on diversifying export destinations for Ecuador’s flower business beyond Miami and Amsterdam.
The addition of Houston to Latam Cargo’s network comes in response to demand for service to Brazil from shippers of industrial and electronic components, machinery, engines, auto parts and other goods.
Latam also said new interline agreements will allow it to route more cargo to Asia from Los Angeles International Airport.
In late October, global logistics power DSV and Latam added two more departures from Huntsville International Airport in Alabama to Sao Paulo five months after the dedicated DSV service launched with one flight per week. The direct flights, which bypass Latam’s Miami hub, give shippers in the Southeast fast transit times to Brazil.
Shortly afterward, Latam Cargo introduced twice-weekly service between Miami, Santo, Domingo, Colombia, and Quito.
Latam on Thursday reported fourth-quarter net profit of $2.5 billion after emerging from U.S. bankruptcy protection in November, compared to a $2.75 billion loss for the same period the prior year. The reorganization left it with $3.6 billion less debt and a modernized fleet. The new 767 freighters are the last tranche of aircraft that Latam is taking from its passenger fleet and sending to Boeing to convert into cargo jets capable of carrying heavy loads on the main deck.
The airline operates units in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru.