INTERNATIONAL

Hundreds of flights canceled as Argentina’s air travel workers go on 24-hour strike

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Hundreds of flights were canceled and dozens of others rescheduled in Argentina on Wednesday as unionized air travel workers went on a 24-hour strike nationwide to demand better wages, in the latest sign of social unrest in the South American country.

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Most of the country’s more than 50 airports remained open but airlines had canceled hundreds of flights. At the country’s largest airport on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, the Ezeiza international airport, only the low-cost company Flybondi and American Airlines were operating Wednesday.

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The state-owned Aerolíneas Argentinas said in a statement that 331 flights were affected by the strike called by the Association of Aeronautical Personnel, the Argentinian Association of Airline Pilots and the Union of Senior and Professional of Aero Commercial Companies.

The strike is expected to impact nearly 24,000 passengers of the state-owned airline alone, with an economic impact estimated at $2 million, according to Aerolíneas Argentinas.

Union members blame the government for a breakdown in salary negotiations. The union conflict started last week when the Argentine government proposed a 12% increase in pay that was deemed insufficient by the three unions that bring together the staff of several airlines.

The strike comes as inflation in Argentina has skyrocketed in recent months, largely as a result of a 50% devaluation of the local currency implemented by the government of President Javier Milei and the elimination of subsidies for public transportation and services such as electricity.

In December and January, the accumulated increase in the cost of living was close to 46%, according to official figures.

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Follow AP’s coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean at https://apnews.com/hub/latin-america

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