Aerolíneas Argentinas international flights will resume today, according to airline officials, after having been suspended over the weekend due to strikes by air traffic controllers and aeronautical technical staff.
The government issued a decree yesterday ordering the strikers to comply with a mandatory conciliation effected by the Labour of Ministry last Friday that, during the weekend, the union had chosen to ignore.
Government officials are blaming Ricardo Cirielli, leader of the Association of Aviation Technical Personnel, for the problems that have arisen in recent days and that have led to the cancellation of more than 80 flights since last Thursday.
Cirielli said that the flights were cancelled, not because of worker strikes, but because of expired airplane licenses, problems with landing gear and other technical problems. Furthermore, he claimed that 5 of the ten planes in the international fleet did not meet satisfactory safety standards to fly. Cirielli accused the airline of negligence and of not investing sufficiently in routine technical maintenance.
“They are accusing us of something we didn’t do, we are not on strike,” said Cirielli.
Today, the government also announced plans to transfer control of air traffic control services from the National Administration of Civil Aviation (ANAC) to the military Argentine Air Forces in response to the ongoing dispute.
It is estimated that Aerolíneas Argentina, a national company, has lost between 15 and 20 million dollars because of conflicts between union leaders and airline authorities.