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Social unrest disrupts flights in Latin America

Social unrest has been disrupting flights in Chile and continues to result in massive cancellations in Bolivia, as protesters block access to local airports.

While the situation in Chile is now back to normal, Bolivia continues to suffer massive flight cancellations and significant delays as protestors against alleged electoral fraud in the re-election of president Evo Morales have now been blocking roads and occupying major infrastructures for over a week.

International flights at the country’s principal gateway in Santa Cruz Viru Viru do operate with relative normality, but domestic flights of all three principal airlines continue to suffer major disruptions.

State-owned Boliviana de Aviacion (BoA) says that it “tries to operate a minimum of flights” to “ensure some basic air connectivity within the country”. In order to avoid crews being detected and prevented from reaching the airport, the airline has “relaxed uniform rules” and resorted to asking for police escort.

BoA currently operates some flights on the country’s La Paz-Cochabamba-Santa Cruz trunk route. All flights to secondary cities, such as Sucre or Tarija, as well as regional routes have been cancelled.

Amaszonas, which recently added two Embraer 190 aircraft to its fleet of Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets, says that it is “operating 25% of the scheduled flights”.

Ecojet could not be reached for comment but airport sources say that “if at all, the airline is flying only irregularly”.

There seems no end in sight to the protests and BoA has cancelled numerous flights at least until the weekend.