Pilot strike in Mexico City disrupts schedules in Mérida

Stranded passengers attempt to find alternate routes to reach their destinations Tuesday at Mexico City’s airport. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty

A group of Aeromexico pilots went on strike early Tuesday, causing the cancellation of 42 flights at the international airport in Mexico City and affecting more than 3,500 passengers, authorities said.

In Mérida, Flights 420 and 421, which linked Mexico City and Miami, were canceled, but are expected to resume today (Wednesday).

Passengers on social media said they had been booked to fly out, either on Aeromexico or United, later today. Many in Mexico City will be covered by national laws compensating passengers for their inconvenience, Aeromexico confirmed in a communique posted on its website.

This strike, which does not have the support of the pilots’ union, originated in the wake of the dismissal of a pilot who was allegedly forced to fly with a tumor in his neck.

The airline said the fired pilot had a long history of misconduct.

Some passengers have been told that the strike was intended to last 24 hours.

Other pilots in the union implored the dissidents, led by Captain José Manuel Fernández, to return to work.

“We are going to defend our comrades, but on the institutional path, fellow pilots, I ask you to return and normalize the flights,” said Carlos Smith, interior secretary of the Mexican Association of Pilots, in improvised statements to the media.

The striking pilots face sanctions, including license suspensions, if they do not report back to work, said Miguel Peláez, director of Civil Aeronautics.

The Mexico City airport is one of the busiest in Latin America, with more than 30 million passengers yearly.

A new airport that will quadruple that capacity is under construction.

“Aeromexico is working at its maximum capacity to restore the operations as soon as possible and is sorry for the inconveniences caused to its customers,” Aeromexico stated in a press release.

To learn about the status of your flight, call 555-133-4000.

With information from El Universal

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