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Belgian airspace closed due to industrial action

29-Sep-2010 10:25 AM

Belgium's Brussels International Airport cancelled more than 100 services on the afternoon of 28-Sep-2010 as workers went on strike to protest internal personnel moves (Associated Press/KUNA/Irish Examiner/DPA/Reuters, 28-Sep-2010). The two sides held a meeting on 28-Sep-2010 but failed to avert the strike, which began at 14:00. It is reported the strike was related to staff being moved from Charleroi to Brussels. Belgocontrol said Belgium's civil airspace will be closed until the afternoon on 29-Sep-2010 and it would resume talks with its workers as soon as trade union representatives came forward with a "formal list of demands, transmitted in accordance with trade union status regulations". A Brussels airport spokesperson said the action was likely to mean the cancellation of approximately 700 inbound and outbound flights. The action has no backing from the trade unions. [more- Swedavia] [more - Bratislava Airport] [more - Estonian Air]

Belgocontrol: "Whatever their request may be, to strike 24 hours, to block the country, to have passengers waiting for planes, families having problems, business having problems ... to see the airlines which have been for months in an economic recession to have more pain, it is unreasonable," Guy Visele, spokesman.

UK's London Luton Airport advised (28-Sep-2010) several services are subject to delay or cancellation due to the Belgian air traffic control industrial action and Spanish Air Traffic Control industrial action on 29-Sep-2010. [more]

Aer Lingus also confirmed the cancellation of two services between Dublin and Brussels on 29-Sep-2010 due to the strike.

Ryanair called on the EU Commission to remove the “right to strike” for essential transport services such as Europe’s ATC, sack any ATC workers who participate in these illegal strikes and deregulate Europe’s national ATC services in order to allow non striking ATC’s to keep the skies over Belgium, France and Spain open, while ATC’s in these countries participate in strike action.

Ryanair: “The European Commission should stop “talking” about ending delays and do something. The single greatest cause of air traffic delays in Europe are Govt owned and mismanaged ATC services. It’s time the ‘right to strike’ of this essential service was removed, or failing that, if these people don’t want to go to work, then sack them and replace them with military and other Air Traffic Controllers who do want to work...How many more times will Europe’s skies be closed before the European Commission finally takes some action to end this recurring ATC chaos." Stephen McNamara, Head of Communications. [more - Ryanair]