The Colombian government threatens to intervene if a labor dispute with the country’s air-traffic controllers that is causing massive delays and cancellation of flights is not solved before the end of the month.
The air-traffic controllers have executed a “turtle plan” since Wednesday which has caused the cancellation of at least 100 flights and the delay of hundreds.
The turtle plan is to pressure aviation authorities to increase wages with 38% and the number of air-traffic controllers who have been dealing with a yearly 8% increase in air traffic over the past five years.
Ministers, aviation authorities and representatives of the air-traffic controllers have been holding talks for days, but have not come to an agreement.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, the government has offered a 28% payrise and to increase the number of air-traffic controllers by 57.
However, if the crisis is not solved before the end of the month, the government threatens to replace the civilian controllers with military controllers to try to re-establish normality in air traffic.
According to newspaper El Heraldo, the Colombian Air Force has some 200 air-traffic controllers that could temporarily replace their civilian colleagues while they come to an agreement with the government.
Because of the exceptional increase in air traffic in Colombia, its system has become increasingly clogged. The capital Bogota, is building a new airport to replace the overcrowded El Dorado airport, but according to the country’s largest airliner even the new airport will be too small if traffic continues to grow the way it has.