November 23, 2018 / 6:07 PM / a year ago

Argentine airline cancels 371 flights due to strike ahead of G20

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s state-owned airline Aerolineas Argentinas said on Friday that it had canceled all flights scheduled for Monday due to a strike called by pilots and other personnel, just days before the country is to host a meeting of the G20.

FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737-700 aircraft belonging to state-run Aerolineas Argentinas sits on the tarmac of the Buenos Aires' domestic airport, October 15, 2013. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian/File Photo

More than 370 flights, affecting 40,000 travelers, have been scratched from the schedule, Aerolineas [AERA.UL] said in a statement.

On Nov.30, the yearly meeting of the leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies is to be held in Buenos Aires. The G20 summit will be the biggest of its kind ever to be held in Argentina.

The inflation- and recession-racked country is hoping to use the G20 meeting to showcase the market-friendly policies of President Mauricio Macri, who has failed to attract significant foreign direct investment since he took office in late 2015.

Frequent strikes by activist labor unions are a reason why investors still shy from Argentina.

“Given the need to protect its passengers, Aerolineas is forced to cancel the entire operation scheduled for that day (Monday) and is reprogramming flights in the most orderly way possible,” the statement said.

Two pilots unions plus the Aeronautical Personnel Association and the Aeronautical Technical Personnel Association are among the groups that will strike, the statement said.

“From 00:00 Monday morning (03:00 GMT) Nov. 26 there will be a total stoppage of activities,” a statement on the website of the local APLA pilots union said. The open-ended strike is over issues including what the union called inadequate wages.

Labor stoppages are common in Argentina, where employers are hard-pressed to grant pay increases in line with inflation.

Consumer prices in Argentina rose 5.4 percent in October alone. Annual inflation is expected to top 47 percent by the end of the year, according to the latest central bank poll.

Reporting by Maximilian Heath, writing by Hugh Bronstein, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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