© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Aeromexico Planes Pictured on Benito Juarez International Airport Runway in Mexico City, Mexico, November 28, 2017. REUTERS / Ginnette Riquelme
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – More than 70 pilots of Grupo Aeromexico tested positive for COVID-19 because the infection increased due to the Omicron variant, which led to 22 canceled flights, said the union representing the pilots of the prominent Mexican airline.
Jose Suarez, press secretary of 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 a conversation 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 represent 5% of Aeromexic operations and that planes headed to the Mexican cities of Guadalajara, Cancun and Monterrey, plus an international flight, were affected.
“We are seeing a pretty serious wave of infections,” Gual said. He attributed the jump to the highly contagious variant of Omicron, which has led 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 from COVID-19 this week, as infections are rising 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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