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Aeroméxico pilots plan Oct. 1 strike in battle over benefits

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Mexico City — Aeroméxico’s pilots plan to strike on Oct. 1 over the airline’s decision to suspend some employee benefits after a crash in northern Mexico in late July.

The members of the General Assembly of the Trade Union Association of Aviator Pilots of Mexico (ASPA) unanimously agreed to strike after pilot benefits were revoked.

Mexico’s civil aviation agency said bad weather likely caused the crash and found no evidence of human error or mechanical failures. But a pilot in training, who was not authorized by the company, briefly served as copilot during the takeoff.

In response, Mexico’s largest airline last week said it had fired the three pilots who were in the cabin and announced new rules for crew, including the elimination of a provision that allowed pilots to fly in the cabin for free.

Pilots’ union ASPA, whose members include Aeroméxico, said that the provision is critical for pilots who use it to travel from their homes to the airline’s base.

“Aeromexico decided unilaterally to suspend the benefit of Crew Flying in Cabin, among other violations of the collective contract, affecting a critical clause for around 2,400 pilots,” the union said in a statement, adding that such benefits are common among other airlines.

The company countered that it was not violating the contract since pilots could still fly in passenger seats outside the pilot cabin.

On July 31, a Mexico City-bound Embraer 190 passenger jet operated by Aeroméxico smashed into scrubland near the runway shortly after take-off during strong winds, hail and rain.

All 103 passengers and crew survived by evacuating from the plane before it was engulfed by flames.

Among its 600 daily flights, Aeroméxico flies between Mérida and Mexico City and has a code-share with Delta Airlines.

Source: Reuters

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