LATAM Airlines Peru customers will be the first to fly with LATAM’s new group interior when a first Boeing 767 is returned to service with the new look before the end of the year. The company has revealed a USD400 programme to revamp the interior of more than 200 narrowbody and widebody aircraft over the next two years, around two thirds of its total fleet.
- LATAM Airlines Group is investing USD400 million to revamp the interior of more than 200 aircraft over the next two years, almost two thirds of its fleet;
- The programme will spread to both narrowbody and widebody jets and comes around four years since a standardised interior was adopted following the merger of LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines;
- LATAM Airlines Peru customers will be the first to fly with the new interior later this year, with LATAM Airlines Brazil following from the start of 2019 and LATAM Airlines Chile from the second half of 2019.
It is around four years since LATAM introduced a new interior offering to standardise the products on offer from LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines following their merger. It has been working on this upgrade for the past three years and it will take around two years to deliver the new look throughout the group’s fleet of aircraft. After its debut with its Peruvian operation, the renovated design will start to appear in aircraft with LATAM Airlines Brazil from the start of 2019 and with LATAM Airlines Chile from the second half of 2019.
“Plans to renovate LATAM Airlines’ cabins were agreed as part of our long-term vision to offer an industry leading on-board flight experience to all our passengers, including those travelling for pleasure who want to ‘travel for less’ and business travellers who want privacy and rest, and to be able to offer upgrades to those who desire one,” says Claudia Sender, vice president of LATAM Airlines Group.
Since its last interior introduction, LATAM has been consulting with passengers and experts to define this new level of comfort, carrying out seat trials and ergonomic tests over the course of 360 evaluations involving customers, cabin crew and LATAM Airlines members. To develop its premium business seat, the airline has also simulated flights with sleep trials over a two-week period.
The airline’s premium business class will include the “Wide Thompson” seat from Thompson Aero that reclines to a fully-flat position, while offering direct aisle access and an 18-inch inflight personal screen. The economy cabin will be fitted with Reacro seats and provide USB power ports to charge devices and a 12-inch inflight entertainment screen. Passengers in economy will also have the option to upgrade to LATAM+ Seats, offering more space, reclining seats and premium services such as priority check-in and boarding.
“On-board experience is one of the most important differentiators in choosing an airline and the most relevant factor in customer satisfaction, and so it was essential that our passengers were involved in the development process of our new cabins,” adds Ms Sender.
Offering a standardised product is important for airlines, especially for its corporate travellers, and LATAM has struggled to offer this after standardising its interior as part of the LAN and TAM integration and more recently having source third party capacity to overcome the grounding of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet due to ongoing engine issues.
LATAM expects to have its entire 787 back flying before the end of this year, but it revealed that more than half its 24 strong fleet were parked at one point this summer while awaiting maintenance from Rolls-Royce. The number of parked aircraft has already been cut in half since then but has forced the airline to add spare widebody capacity to maintain its schedule.
During the second quarter of 2018 this comprised three leased Airbus A330s and one Boeing 747 under a short-term rental agreement with the Spanish airline Wamos Air. , LATAM also extended its sublease contracts with Qatar Airways for two Airbus A350, initially returning in 2018, for two more years.