Headquartered in Santiago, Chile, the carrier has employed around 41,000 people.
In its filing with a New York court, the carrier said it will continue to operate while it restructures. Reports say its affiliates in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, were not included in the chapter 11 filing.
“We have implemented a series of difficult measures to mitigate the impact of this unprecedented industry disruption, but ultimately this path represents the best option,” LATAM Chief Executive Officer Roberto Alvo said in a statement.
A merger of Chile’s LAN and Brazil’s TAM, LATAM carried 69 million passengers last year. Until the pandemic hit the region, it operated a fleet of 315 aircraft, providing passenger transport services to 137 destinations in 24 countries, and cargo service to 144 destinations.
The airline’s Brazilian affiliate is reportedly seeking a bailout from the government.
The pandemic has not only brought the air travel to a halt, but it also changed the industry for the foreseeable future, says Alvo.
The news comes barely two weeks after Avianca filed for bankruptcy, putting thousands of its workers on unpaid leave and announcing plans to shut down operations in Peru as well.
Across the world, the aviation industry took a devastating blow from the coronavirus outbreak, as governments ordered the grounding of flights and delayed to bail out airlines.