MIAMI – Argentina’s two largest carriers, Aerolíneas Argentinas and its subsidiary, Austral Lineas Aereas, canceled all their flights on Tuesday following a 24-hour strike directed by its pilot’s union.
The Pilots union is asking for a 26% salary increase in line with the country’s inflation rate, even though their salary was already increased by a 42% in comparison to last year.
According to Mario De’Aqua, President of Aerolineas Argentinas, his pilots currently receive an average of 250,000 pesos (US$ 14,000) per month, considering Argentina’s minimum wage is 12,000 pesos (US$ 600). He also said that the company might take legal action.
— AerolíneasArgentinas (@Aerolineas_AR) October 31, 2017
“We are very sorry to inform all our customers that our Tuesday and Wednesday flights will suffer delays and cancellations due to a union strike. We understand the inconveniences this may cause, so we reiterate our apologies,” said the airline in a statement.
This is not the first time the Argentinean carrier is affected by a pilot’s strike. In 2016, the pilot’s union called for a sudden strike that caused severe travel disruptions throughout the airline’s network. At the time, the pilots demanded fair wage compensation due to the country’s rampant inflation.
De’Aqua said on Monday that the strike might affect “more than 30,000 passengers.” However, there are about 40,000 affected customers and 300 canceled flights, as reported by Argentinean media.
“Unfortunately, our pilots declared that none of them would fly on Tuesday,” De’Aqua said. “We were forced to cancel 45 of today’s flights and return the aircraft to their base,” he told the Argentinean TV channel Todo Noticias.
The Labor Union Secretary-General, Ruben Fernandez, said the unions would likely stage other strikes if their demands are not met.