Argentina's National Civil Aviation Administration (ANAC) Thursday agreed with its Chilean counterpart (DGAC) to allow LATAM aircraft under Chilean registration to fly the Ezeiza-Miami route with an Argentine crew on behalf of LATAM Argentina. The lease is yet to be authorised at higher levels.
This agreement we signed today is a first step towards that request to lease planes to be flown by Argentine crews, but we have not yet given authorization to LATAM to do so, ANAC head Tomás Insausti told the newspaper Clarín. We see this request as something that is good for the growth of LATAM Argentina, but we want to do things properly, he added.
Insausti held meetings with aviation unions, who raised objections from a political point of view, but stayed mum about technical issues, which are covered by the so-called double watch accord with Chile.
The lease was singled out as a cause for a strike last Friday and also triggered a few responses from business circles who favoured the carrier's initiative, which serves the Ezeiza-Miami route with an old Boeing 767 that will become obsolete as of January 1, since it will no longer be allowed to enter the United States airspace.
Faced with this situation, the company requested to lease newer aircraft from its Santiago headquarters. If we can not move forward with that request, we will have to halt the route to the United States, Rosario Altgelt, head of LATAM Argentina, was quoted as saying by Clarín.
LATAM's Ezeiza-Miami route is a source of employment for 50 pilots and 150 cabin crew work, which make for 10 percentof all LATAM Argentina staff.
As the local subsidiary of the Chilean-Brazilian aviation giant faces harsher times, the APLA pilots' guild, which has a total number of 230 members of which 164 work for LATAM, last week petitioned the company's brass to review the aircraft interchange agreement (sic), and requested that pilots be allowed to be a part of the negotiations as they opposed President Mauricio Macri's commercial aviation policy and the cession of LATAM Argentina routes to the other subsidiaries of the group.
In this regard, Altgelt has proven she is firmly supported by other local leaders in the local aviation and tourism industry.
With the school Winter break looming over, any measure taken or not taken by pilots is being monitored closely.