The Peruvian Government imposed a US$600K fine on LATAM Airlines Group after it canceled 276 domestic and international flights. Meanwhile, the airline claimed that the penalty is unfair. But, what happened?
Going back to 2017
The Customers Protection Agency in Peru, called Indecopi, launched an inquiry against LATAM when the South American carrier canceled 276 domestic and international flights between February and August 2017.
According to Indecopi, LATAM’s Peruvian branch —LATAM Peru— canceled most of the flights, 247. In that sense, it fined the regional carrier US$542,000.
Meanwhile, LATAM Airlines Group canceled 29 scheduled flights, so it received a US$48,000 fine.
But, why did the Indecopi fined LATAM for canceling flights? According to Peruvian newspaper Diario Financiero, the airline claimed that the delays and cancellations happened due to unforeseeable issues. Despite that, LATAM couldn’t prove it. LATAM’s cancellations impacted 39,366 passengers.
Now, LATAM faces obligatory refunds
Since LATAM canceled those flights without any real reason, Indecopi is now forcing the airline to correct its wrongdoing.
According to Peruvian newspaper Gestión, LATAM must refund the cost of the tickets to every passenger affected. Moreover, LATAM has to do it, even if the passengers don’t ask for the refunds.
The South American airline has until 11 January 2021 to do the refunds. If it fails to do so (and prove it), LATAM could face new fines.
What does LATAM say?
This fine couldn’t have come at a worse time for LATAM. Although US$600,000 is not that much amount for an airline, currently, every carrier worldwide is trying to keep as much cash as possible. Additionally, LATAM seems to be adding up small financial claims, as the recent US$8 million motion from Google.
In the third quarter of 2020, LATAM saw how its revenues drop by 95%. It had a net loss of US573.1 million due to an almost complete shutdown in South America. In September, the airline was operating just at 20% of its pre-COVID capacity.
So now, the airline says that the Indecopi is showing “ambiguous” information. LATAM states that not everybody of the near 400,000 passengers that Indecopi claims were affected actually was. Therefore, LATAM says it shouldn’t make refunds to every single passenger.
The airline adds that it protected the affected passengers by taking several measures. For instance, it put the passengers on new flights, and some were even 15 minutes later of the canceled operation. LATAM also delivered travel vouchers or has even made some refunds.
Finally, since all of this happened in 2017, LATAM stated that maybe every passenger affected has already received some sort of compensation. If that’s not the case, the airline promised to remind them of their forgotten compensation right.
Have you ever traveled with LATAM Peru? How was it? Let us know in the comments.
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