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UPDATE 1-Argentina confident LATAM flights will continue -minister
August 23, 2013 / 8:50 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Argentina confident LATAM flights will continue -minister

SANTIAGO, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Argentina is confident that LATAM Airlines, whose local unit was ordered out of its hangar at Buenos Aires’ domestic airport, will continue operations, and it should talk with regulators to resolve the issue, Argentina’s foreign minister said.

“We are sure that (LATAM unit) LAN is going to continue operating in Argentina in accordance with the rules established by the authorities,” said Hector Timerman on Friday.

Timerman is in Chile, where LATAM Airlines Group SA is headquartered, to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries.

Argentina’s airport regulator said on Tuesday that LAN Argentina had 10 days to vacate the hangar at domestic airport Aeroparque because it was not a state airline. LAN Argentina is the main competitor of Argentina’s flagship, Aerolineas Argentinas, which was nationalized in 2008.

“LAN will resolve its problems by talking with the relevant authorities,” Timerman said, adding that the government could assist, but could not resolve the company’s problems.

LATAM, formed in a merger last year between Chile’s LAN and Brazil’s TAM, has said the action puts its domestic Argentine operations at risk and has threatened legal action.

The move has caused tensions between the South American neighbours and created another headache for LATAM, which is already struggling with a weakening Brazilian economy, outside its home country.

The airline’s shares were 3.71 percent higher on Friday afternoon, outperforming a 1.22 percent rise on Santiago’s blue-chip IPSA stock index.

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