Strike forces Belgian airports to cancel several flights

13 February 2019 (Last Updated February 18th, 2019 15:20)

Hundreds of flights to and from Belgium have been cancelled due to a strike called by air traffic controllers in support of pay demands.

Hundreds of flights to and from Belgium have been cancelled due to a strike called by air traffic controllers in support of pay demands.

The strike began at 10pm on Tuesday evening and will continue to 10pm today.

Belgian air navigation service provider Skeyes said in a statement: “Despite all the efforts made by the skeyes management, six hours before the start of the national strike, the company does not have sufficient insight into the staffing levels during the industrial action that will start tonight.”

Air traffic controllers have called the strike in protest of stalled negotiations between national trade unions and the government pertaining to a two-year pay increase for all workers in the country.

Skeyes' employees do not have to declare their intentions to work or not during trade union actions in advance.

Media reports suggest nearly 500 flights to and from Brussels Airport have been cancelled, while Antwerp and Charleroi airports are also closed.

"Guests whose travel plans are affected have been notified via SMS/email and can rebook free of charge."

Brussels Airport said: “Although the terminal remains open, we kindly ask our passengers not to come to the airport on Wednesday.

“Passengers whose flight is affected by the general strike are requested to contact their airline,” the statement added.

Government, military, and emergency flights are not affected by the strike.

Ryanair local hub Charleroi Airport has cancelled around 600 outbound flights and all flights coming due to strike.

Brussels Airlines has cancelled all of its 222 flights, reported RTÉ.ie.

Aer Lingus has also cancelled flights between Dublin and Brussels.

Aer Lingus said in a statement: "Regrettably we have been forced to cancel four services operating the Dublin-Brussels route tomorrow, Wednesday 13 February, as a result of a national strike in Belgium.

"Guests whose travel plans are affected have been notified via SMS/email and can rebook free of charge on the next available flight or opt for a refund.

"To minimise disruption we are operating additional capacity on Thursday 14 February."

Aer Lingus said that the affected passengers have been informed about the cancellation of their flights. They can rebook on the next available flight without any additional cost or can seek refund of airfare.