| BUENOS AIRES, April 7
BUENOS AIRES, April 7 A general strike in
Argentina on Thursday that brought transportation to a
standstill cost the flagship carrier Aerolineas Argentinas
around 120 million pesos ($7.83 million), the company's chief
executive, Mario Dell'Acqua, said on Friday.
Latin America's third-largest economy ground to a halt
yesterday as labor unions walked off the job to challenge
center-right President Mauricio Macri's austerity measures.
"There was no reason [for the strike]," Dell'Acqua told
Reuters in an interview during the World Economic Forum in
Buenos Aires. "It's the unions way of showing they can really
have an impact on us," he said.
"I have to pay to lease the planes, I have to pay wages, but
I didn't fly. We make money flying."
The strike comes at a sensitive time for the state-owned
airline, which is bracing for an opening of Argentina's air
travel market to boost competition which would include several
Macri, who took office in December 2015 and has sought to
cut Argentina's massive fiscal deficit after more than a decade
of free-spending populism, hopes the market opening will lower
fare prices and expand the small offering of flights within the
Dell'Acqua said the entrance of low-cost companies could
help Aerolineas by expanding the internal market, noting that
Argentines fly only one-third as often as Chileans and half as
often as Brazilians.
"Greater supply makes us all grow," he said, noting that
after neighboring Brazil underwent a similar market opening, the
number of travelers doubled.
Aerolineas is aiming to reduce its large deficit and expects
to post a loss of $180 million this year, compared with a $300
million loss in 2016.
($1 = 15.3230 Argentine pesos)
(Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing
by Sandra Maler)