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Aeromexico stops flights as COVID’s “domino effect” hits crews

© Reuters. PHOTO PHOTO: Aeromexico aircraft are on the runway at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City on November 28, 2017. REUTERS / Ginnette Riquelme

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – More than 70 pilots from Grupo Aeromexico have tested positive for COVID-19, as the Omicron variant has seen infections rise and 22 flights have been canceled, according to a union representing pilots of the famous Mexican airline.

Jose Suarez, the press secretary of the ASPA pilot association, told Milenio television that the cases had a “domino effect” and that Aeromexico forced the entire crew to be isolated in order not to spread the virus.

ASPA Secretary General Jose Gual, also speaking to Milenio, said that the pilots who tested positive for COVID-19 were 5% of the Aeromexico pilots represented by ASPA.

He added that the cancellations affected 5% of Aeromexico’s operations and flights to Guadalajara, Cancun and Monterrey, Mexico City, and added an international flight.

“We’re seeing a pretty serious wave of infection,” Gual said. This leap has been blamed on the highly contagious Omicron variant, which has caused hundreds of flights around the world to cancel hundreds of flights during the winter travel season.

Aeromexico said the new expansion of COVID-19 affected “some flights” without giving details.

“The safety of our customers and partners is and will always be a top priority,” Aeromexico said in a statement.

The company has not answered questions about the COVID-19 cases among pilots and crew, nor how many flights have been canceled.

Mexico is likely to exceed 300,000 deaths as a result of COVID-19 this week as infections rise after the holidays, driven by Omicron and largely unrestricted tourism, such as to the Mexican capital and the beaches of Cancun and Los Cabos beach.

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