Flights Delayed Following Riots In Santiago

There has been a second night of rioting in the Chilean capital of Santiago. Many flights operating to and from Santiago de Chile Airport (SCL) were suspended due to the unrest.

LATAM Boeing 787 Dreamliner - volando 7
A state of emergency has been declared in Santiago, Chile. Photo: LATAM

The Chilean capital, along with several other of the nation’s cities has seen people take the streets to protest. The demonstrations are against an increase in public transport costs. The unrest has prompted Chilean President Sebastian Piñera to declare a state of emergency. He has also issued a night-time curfew with soldiers and tanks patrolling the streets.

The riots have prevented flight crews from getting to the airport

Flights operated by the country’s two biggest airlines, LATAM and Sky Airline, were canceled or delayed Sunday morning. This was after a shutdown of the city’s public transport system and continuing riots prevented flight crews from getting to the airport.

The country’s national flag carrier, LATAM Chile tweeted that due to the civil unrest its flights into and out of Santiago were being affected

“We will continue to adjust our itineraries of flights into and out of Santiago on October 20 and 21,” the tweet read.

The post also advised passengers due to fly out of Santiago Airport to check on their flight’s status before heading to the airport.

The riots are over a proposed increase in metro fares

The riots started after a proposed increase in metro fares was announced, plunging one of Latin America’s most stable countries into chaos. The protests have highlighted the general discontent that ordinary citizens have with the high cost of living in what is one of South America’s richest nations.

Sky Airlines is Chile’s second-biggest airline. Photo: Sky Airlines

Troops deployed on the streets haven’t been seen since the country returned to democracy following the ousting of Dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1990.

After being criticized for his response to the rioting, when addressing the nation on television, the BBC says that President Sebastián Piñera told his countrymen that he had listened “with humility” to “the voice of my compatriots” and to discontent over the cost of living.

Meanwhile, General Javier Iturriaga del Campo has been put in charge of enforcing a curfew. This order will be in action between the hours of 22:00 and 07:00 local time in Santiago and outlying areas of the city.

During the declared 15-day state of emergency citizens, movements will be restricted and the right to assembly denied by the authorities.

On Saturday, all sporting and cultural events were all canceled with shops remaining closed. The city’s underground system is also closed until Monday after 41 of its 136 stations were vandalized.

During the riots, President Piñera was photographed at a restaurant

Tensions continued while protesters were setting up barricades and fighting with the police. During this time, a photograph was posted on social media showing President Piñera dining at an upmarket Italian restaurant.

Critics called the photo emblematic of a leader who was out of touch with the plight of ordinary Chileans. The proposed fare increase has now been suspended, but tension remains high.

If you are trying to leave Santiago or are traveling there, make sure to contact your airline before flying.