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NEW YORK: A New York City court approved a plan by Latin America’s largest airline, LATAM Airlines, to exit bankruptcy under US law, the carrier announced on Saturday.

“We are very pleased with the judge’s confirmation of our restructuring plan. This is a very important step in the process to exit Chapter 11 and we will continue to work intensively to conclude the remaining steps over the next few months,” company CEO Roberto Alvo said in a statement.

The plan includes an $8 billion injection that LATAM said last year would come through a combination of fresh capital, convertible bonds and debt.

Under US bankruptcy law, Chapter 11 allows a company unable to pay its debts to reorganize without pressure from creditors.

Created in 2012 by the merger of Chile’s LAN and Brazil’s TAM airlines, LATAM filed for Chapter 11 protection in May last year after continent-wide confinement measures to contain the coronavirus forced it to reduce its operations by 95 percent.

Problems soar for airlines despite pandemic recovery

In September, a New York court approved a $2.45 billion bankruptcy loan package to help LATAM, which had laid off thousands of workers and closed its Argentine subsidiary in money-saving steps.

LATAM had been expected to have total debt of about $7.26 billion and liquidity of $2.67 billion when the plan was approved.

The company expects to exit bankruptcy by the second half of 2022, it said in its statement.

LATAM has subsidiaries in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the United States.

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