Buenos Aires Times

economy As low-cost struggles to take off

Pilots threaten Easter air traffic shut-down

Aerolíneas Argentinas, Austral and LAN pilots are considering the prospect of a strike, Airline Pilots Association (APLA) secretary general Pablo Biró confirmed.

Monday 19 March, 2018
A lady checks the flight status board at Aeroparque airport in Buenos Aires as airlines Latam and Aerolineas Argentinas, adhering to a December 2017 general strike, go about reprogramming flights.
A lady checks the flight status board at Aeroparque airport in Buenos Aires as airlines Latam and Aerolineas Argentinas, adhering to a December 2017 general strike, go about reprogramming flights. Foto:Télam

Argentina’s pilots have threatened strike activity across the Easter period in protest of the government’s policies surrounding commercial air travel.

The prospect of an Easter-period meltdown at Argentina’s airports comes as the latest player in the commercial air travel market, low-cost carrier Fly Bondi, struggles to overcome a wave of cancellations, delays and technical problems.

Aerolíneas Argentinas, Austral and LAN pilots are considering the prospect of a strike, Airline Pilots Association (APLA) secretary general Pablo Biró confirmed.

“We haven’t ruled out any measure. We’re assessing the impact of the government’s air travel policies, which are giving work to foreigners over Argentines,” he told Crónica TV.

Through tender processes for dozens of new routes, the government last year began opening up Argentina's skies to a slate of local and international airlines including several “low-cost” firms.

Norwegian Air, Europe’s third-largest low-cost airline, began landing flights to Ezeiza from London in February while Fly Bondi has began operating a handful of domestic routes from its base in Córdoba. The firm is also operating three flights per day from the Palomar Airport in Greater Buenos Aires, though a court injunction and a public hearing process have stalled expansion plans.

According to a 2015 report by the national Tourism Ministry, low-cost tourism represents 3.8 percent of Argentina’s GDP. This reaches around seven percent when factoring in indirectly derived economic activity.

Read also: The sectors behind Macri’s economic hopes

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