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Chile's airports to resume normal operations as strike ends

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Chile's government and workers tied to the civil aviation authority came to an agreement on Sunday evening, putting an end to a four-day strike that forced airlines to cancel hundreds of flights and left thousands of passengers stranded.

[SANTIAGO] Chile's government and workers tied to the civil aviation authority came to an agreement on Sunday evening, putting an end to a four-day strike that forced airlines to cancel hundreds of flights and left thousands of passengers stranded.

A spokesman for the Defence Ministry told Reuters an agreement had been reached but provided no further details.

LAN, Chile's flagship airline and part of LATAM Airlines , had said earlier on Sunday that domestically, it was only flying from Chile's capital Santiago to Punta Arenas, Temuco and Calama, affecting 80 per cent of its flights.

Due to the high occupancy rates in the run-up to the Christmas holiday, "relocating affected passengers after the strike is over could take several days," LAN said.

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The regional carrier's chief executive, Enrique Cueto, told local newspaper La Tercera, that the strike was likely to cost LAN between US$10 million and US$15 million.

The work stoppage was initially set to only last 48 hours.

In September, a 24-hour strike stranded thousands of travelers and created long lines at airports after a majority of workers affiliated with the DGAC, or civil aviation authority, went on strike to demand improved benefits and working conditions.

After two months of negotiations, DGAC workers, which includes air traffic controllers, said this week that they had rejected the government's proposal for a state subsidy to improve their pensions and went on strike again.

REUTERS

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