Argentine airline flies on rented planes

Argentina's largest airline on Tuesday said it is renting aircraft from other companies to resume part of its operations idled by a six-day-long strike by pilots and mechanics.

Aerolineas Argentinas also said 100 more strikers were fired, bringing to 337 the number of workers who have lost their jobs since the strike over salaries started.

According to spokesman Julio Scaramella the work stoppage has cost the company US$8.5 million in lost income after being forced to cancel 258 domestic and international flights.

Scaramella said nearly 50,000 passengers have been affected.

"The company is renting airplanes from other companies in order to fulfill our obligations with those who have bought tickets," he said.

On Monday, strikers blocked the access to Buenos Aires' Ezeiza airport for several hours, forcing passengers of other airlines to haul their luggage several blocks to reach the airport.

Strikers are demanding a 35 percent salary raise and Aerolineas Argentinas has offered a 5 percent increase, the AP reports.


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