LATAM Airlines Brasil (JJ, São Paulo Congonhas) will lay off approximately 1,350 workers next month as part of plans to outsource its groundhandling operations.

According to a statement released by the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT) trade union, the move will take place in early September and will affect 1,000 employees at São Paulo Guarulhos and a further 350 at Rio de Janeiro Int'l airport.

Orbital/WFS, the firm which will assume the task of running the LATAM Airlines Group unit's groundhandling operations, has since said that 1,500 staff are already in the contracting and staffing phase but did not reveal if they had necessarily been staffed from LATAM.

LATAM Group has been outsourcing non-core operations to third-party contractors as it seeks to finalize the merger of TAM Linhas Aéreas, LAN Airlines, and their respective business units.

Other aspects of the merger that are still in the process of being settled include the transitioning of flights operated by LATAM Airlines Brasil (JJ, São Paulo Congonhas) to the singular "LA" flight code under the LATAM brand name.

A recent US Department of Transportation (DOT) filing shows Washington has now approved the move as part of a year-long extension of authority which also permits LATAM Airlines (LA, Santiago de Chile Int'l), LATAM Airlines Perú (LP, Lima Int'l), and LATAM Airlines Colombia (4C, Bogotá) to use the trade name “LATAM” and the designator code “LA” for all of their services to/from the United States.