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Latin America’s largest airline, LATAM, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

FILE - In this July 25, 2016, file photo, an agent of LATAM airlines stands by the counters at the airport in Santiago, Chile. The South American carrier said Tuesday, May 26, 2020, it is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it grapples with the sharp downturn in air travel sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File)

(CNN) — LATAM Airlines Group, the largest air carrier in Latin America, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday, according to a statement released on its website.

Reservations, employee pay, flight vouchers as well as passenger and cargo operations will not be affected, according to the statement.

“The U.S. Chapter 11 financial reorganization process provides a clear and guided opportunity to work with our creditors and other stakeholders to reduce our debt, address commercial challenges that we, like others in our industry, are facing as a group,” the company said. “It is very different from the concept of bankruptcy in other countries and is not a liquidation proceeding.”

LATAM’s CEO Roberto Alvo cited coronavirus-related travel restrictions as a main driver for the decision to file for bankruptcy.

“We are looking ahead to a post-Covid future and are focused on transforming our group to adapt to a new and evolving way of flying, with the health and safety of our passengers and employees being paramount,” Alvo said in an infographic explaining the bankruptcy filing.

The voluntary reorganization will include LATAM’s affiliates in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and the United States.

This is the second major airlines in the region to file for bankruptcy in the month of May. Colombia-based Avianca filed for bankruptcy in the US Southern District of New York after facing coronavirus-related financial problems.

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