Avianca pilots' labour action forces flight cancellations

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Labour action started by the pilots of Bogota-based Avianca last week is forcing the Star Alliance carrier to cancel about 30 daily flights, most of them on domestic routes.

The pilots started their work slowdown on 13 September to force salary increases in the range of 15%, saying that they are now paid less than other pilots in the region. Only pilots belonging to Avianca S.A., the Colombian operator of the group of airlines operating under the Avianca brand, are participating.

An Avianca spokesperson plays down the impact of the labour action. "Today [Monday] we cancelled 29 domestic flights. This represents just 2.7% of all Avianca flights. We have notified and rebooked all affected passengers on alternative flights," she says.

While negotiations between the pilots, the airline and government mediators have started and will go into a new round tomorrow, the situation is expected to continue at least until 18 September.