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Tunisair Suspends All flights over Worker Row, Apologizes to Passengers | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Tunisia’s flag carrier Tunisair announced on Thursday the suspension of all its flights due to a row between pilots and technicians.

The Tunisian airline apologized to passengers, saying the decision was aimed at “preserving the safety of the fleet” following an “altercation” at Tunis-Carthage International Airport.

Tunisian media reported that a fight had broken out between technicians and a captain and his co-pilot, following tensions between the two professions in recent weeks over uniforms.

Mechanics also reportedly held a recent sit-in in front of a union headquarters to denounce their treatment by pilots.

Police reinforcements were sent to the airport and a crisis cell including the transport minister was set up to resolve the situation.

The carrier has 29 aircraft that usually operate an average of 47 flights a day to destinations mostly in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, according to its website.

Tunisair served 32 country markets in 2016, the same number that it served in 2015.

In another development in the airline industry, Emirates president said on Thursday the world’s largest long-haul airline is stripping out costs from its business as it adapts to weaker markets and a stronger dollar and the rise of low-cost long-haul rivals.

“We are subject to market changes like everybody else is,” Tim Clark told journalists in Berlin on the sidelines of the ITB travel fair.

One of the changes is the rise of lower-cost long-haul travel, he said, describing it as a “gathering storm”.

“The way people travel, their decisions for travelling, the amount of money they’re prepared to pay, new entrants coming to market, long-range single aisles, it’s all changing,” Clark added.

He declined to provide details or say when any new strategy would be announced but said job cuts were “not in our nature.”

“It’s not a revolution, it’s an adjustment,” he added.