Pilots working for Aeromexico announced they will strike on October 1 over a company decision to axe some of their benefits in the wake of a recent accident in northern Mexico.
A report indicated that inclement weather and not pilot error was the reason for the crash of an Embraer 190 plane that plummeted to the ground shortly after takeoff from Durango Airport on July 31. The 103 passengers and crew all survived.
However, Aeromexico discovered that various cockpit protocols had been violated during the short-lived flight. Chief among these was the presence in the cabin of a pilot still undergoing training who took over as co-pilot during the takeoff.
In a statement last week, Aeromexico chief executive Andres Conesa announced that the carrier’s pilots not on duty looking to return to their home bases will no longer enjoy the privilege of free travel in the cabins of planes but would be able to use passengers seats if they were available.
The pilots union, the Asociación Sindical de Pilotos Aviadores de México (ASPA), has argued that this benefit is offered by nearly all airlines worldwide and is important for pilots’ well-being. More importantly, the union said, it is a violation of Aeromexico’s collective contract.
Paradoxically, the three pilots who were in the cabin of the Embraer 190 during the ill-fated takeoff and were hailed as heroes after the crash have all been fired because of the protocol infringements, Conesa informed company employees in a letter. “This type of behavior is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it for any reason,” Conesa said. “It put at risk the trust that more than 20 million clients give us.”
The initial report on the accident indicated that there were no mechanical failures or human errors that could have caused the jetliner to crash.