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Air Portugal pilots in strike move

Air Portugal pilots are to begin a 24-hour strike tomorrow over what they say is a deterioration in work conditions, with their walkout disrupting the flag carrier's operations during the peak summer holiday period.

The state-owned airline on average carries some 42,000 passengers on about 350 flights a day in August.

The company said today it hopes to operate around 150 flights during the walkout. Some 25,000 customers have changed their date of travel.

The Civil Aviation Pilots' Union, which represents the company's 900 pilots, said work conditions have slipped ahead of the airline's planned privatisation.

The company, which flies to almost 200 destinations, said there is no justification for the strike and blamed it on a show of strength ahead of the union's upcoming leadership elections.

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