| Photo: Albari Rosa / Gazeta do Povo.
Hundreds of domestic and international flights are canceled at Brazilian airports due to lack of crew, including pilots and co-pilots. The situation was caused by the increase in medical layoffs in January due to cases of Covid-19 and influenza. By early Monday afternoon (10), more than 150 flights had already been canceled.
The three main Brazilian airlines – Azul, Gol and Latam – have confirmed the impact on operations. However, Gol did not report cancellations. Sought after, the National Civil Aviation Agency (Anac) indicated that “it monitors cases of respiratory illnesses caused in pilots, flight attendants and other professionals in the aviation sector”.
Latam, for example, informed passengers that it had already canceled 1% of all domestic and international flights in January. In the company, at least 111 departures have been canceled between today (10) and next Sunday (16). Gol also confirmed that there had been “an increase in positive cases among employees” in recent days, but said “no flights have been canceled or significantly altered for this reason” and the employees infected have been withdrawn.
In Azul’s case, in January there was a 405% increase in sick leave, compared to the average for the past 12 months, according to data presented by the National Aeronautics Union (SNA). At Viracopos Airport (SP), Azul’s main hub, there have been at least 53 cancellations between yesterday (9) and today.
The Anac rules guarantee that in case of cancellation less than 72 hours in advance, the passenger is entitled to a full refund of the plane ticket or to re-accommodation, free of charge, on another flight, either from the company itself or another airline. All passenger rights are available on the Anac portal.