© Reuters. PHOTO: Aeromex planes pictured on Benito Juarez International Airport runway in Mexico City, Mexico, November 28, 2017. REUTERS / Ginnette Riquelme
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – More than 70 Grupo Aeromexico pilots tested positive for COVID-19 as infections increased due to the Omicron variant, leading to 22 canceled flights, said a union representing pilots of the prominent Mexican airline.
Jose Suarez, a spokesman for the ASPA Pilots Association, told Milenio television that the cases had a “domino effect”, forcing Aeromexico to isolate entire crews to prevent the virus from spreading.
ASPA Secretary General Jose Gual, also in an interview with Millennium, said that pilots who tested positive for COVID-19 make up 5% of Aeromexic pilots represented by ASPA.
He added that the layoffs accounted for 5% of Aeromexic operations and that planes headed to the Mexican cities of Guadalajara, Cancun and Monterrey, plus an international flight, were affected.
“We’re seeing a pretty serious wave of infections,” Gual said. He attributed the jump to a highly contagious variant of the Omicron that caused airlines around the world to cancel hundreds of flights during the busy winter travel season.
Aeromexico said the new expansion of COVID-19 affected “some flights”, without giving details.
“The safety of our customers and associates is and will always be a top priority,” Aeromexic said in a statement.
The company did not answer questions about COVID-19 cases among its pilots and crew members, nor about how many flights were canceled.
Mexico is likely to exceed 300,000 deaths since COVID-19 this week as infections rise after the holiday season, fueled by Omicron, as well as mostly unlimited tourism to hotspots such as the Mexican capital and Cancun and Los Cabos beach destinations.
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