LATAM Airlines December passenger traffic falls 1.8 percent


SANTIAGO, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Latin America's largest carrier, LATAM Airlines Group SA , said on Monday that total passenger traffic decreased 1.8 percent in December year over year.

The company, formed in 2012 from the tie-up of Chile's flagship LAN and Brazilian airline TAM, posted a 2.5 percent increase in 2013 passenger traffic.

In December, Brazilian domestic passenger traffic fell 6.4 percent, while non-Brazil domestic passenger traffic rose 7.9 percent, the carrier said in a statement.

The company has been cutting capacity in Brazil to boost efficiency and shore up margins. With the reductions, its planes have been flying closer to full capacity.

Load factor, a measure of how full planes are, rose 3.7 points to 81.9 percent in its overall passenger operations. In Brazil, load factor decreased 0.5 percentage points to 81.4 percent.

LATAM Airlines has domestic operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

International passenger traffic declined 1.4 percent in December, while cargo traffic dropped 6.7 percent.

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