Passengers in Brussels airport
Passengers in Brussels airport

Brussels airport strike: Flights cancelled as air-traffic controllers stage sudden walkout

Many flights have been cancelled, and others heavily delayed

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Thursday 16 May 2019 10:03

A sudden strike by air-traffic controllers has closed Brussels airport.

The industrial action by staff working for the air-navigation provider, Skeyes, began at 9.30am local time and will continue to 1pm.

The airport in the Belgian capital has been closed. Many flights have been cancelled, and others heavily delayed.

Brussels Airlines flights to Birmingham and Heathrow are among dozens of cancelled departures, along with the inbound services.

The British Airways 10am departure from Heathrow to Brussels has been cancelled, as well as the corresponding inbound flight.

A BA spokesperson said: “​Like all airlines, we’ve been affected by the wildcat strike in Brussels this morning.

“We’ve upgraded our later flights to a larger aircraft so that we can ensure that all of our customers still arrive at their destination​ today.”

An incoming Tui Airways flight from Varadero and Cancun is expected four hours late, and a Ryanair arrival from Alicante is three hours behind schedule.

Brussels National airport is warning: “Passengers whose flight is cancelled due to the industrial action are requested to contact their airline for more information.

“We kindly ask passengers whose flights are cancelled not to come to the airport.

“Delays, late arrivals as well as cancellations will remain possible throughout the whole day.

“We apologise for the inconvenience and will keep you informed on any updates.

Earlier this month hundreds of flights were cancelled due to a strike by French air-traffic controllers.

Airlines For Europe (A4E), a lobby group comprising big airlines, is based in Brussels. It has called for minimum notice of industrial action, saying: “A4E supports a 72-hour individual notification requirement for controllers wishing to strike, to improve the predictability of disruption.”

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