Yes, the MAD/ROM flights are the most productive for the carrier. The North American routes have averaged a 58% load factor while the South American and Oceania route have turned extremely low levels.
In my opinion, I think that QF's withdrawal from the market will probably not benefit AR too much, since Lan Chile will now directly compete with AR and this is probably going to be even harder competition than what QF constituted.
Although the $39 million loss is seemed to be low, compared to the airline's past history, it is still hefty considering that it represents 3 months of operation. What can be expected for the rest of the year?
I believe that many positive things have been achieved. Employee morale seems to be at an all time high and the employees are aware that they need to give it their best considering such unstable climate; therefore, productivity is very good.
However, the administration of the airline should adopt a philosophy of not just flying for pride but to fund the future. Unless the route to Australia promises growth and potential in the near future, keep it. However, I don't think this will be the case. Concentrate on the routes that are breaking even: Miami, Madrid, Rome, maybe JFK. Drop Auckland and Sydney, return a 747 and leave that A340 free to increase frequencies on a routes were the airline's assets can be more productive.
Pan Am - The World's Most Experienced Airline.