After all flights departing from Brussels Airport were cancelled Monday due to national union strikes, the airport expects a large number of passengers Tuesday and Wednesday as the airport tries to cope with the backlog of flights that were rescheduled.
The airport advises travellers not to arrive at the airport earlier than usual due to the expected high number of people there. Instead, passengers should arrive at the airport two hours in advance for Schengen zone flights and three hours in advance for flights outside the Schengen zone.
Passengers are also encouraged to check the status of their flight ahead of time on the Brussels Airport website, bring as little hand luggage as possible and prepare it ahead of time so that security checks can be carried out faster. “European passengers travelling outside the Schengen area are advised to bring their passports, even if not required by their destination, to be able to use the electronic passport control,” Brussels Airport writes on their website.
Arrivals may also be impacted due to the high traffic Tuesday and Wednesday, the airport encourages passengers arriving to check their flight status online.
The Monday strikes saw between 70,000 and 80,000 demonstrators from the FGTB, CSC and CGSLB trade unions take to the streets of Brussels to demand better protections from the cost of living crisis. The unions ask for higher wages amid soaring prices and inflation. They are calling for an adaptation of the Wage Norm Act 1996, which they claim prevents wage negotiations and blocks salary increases.
More strikes are expected later this week by Brussels Airlines and Ryanair, which will cause further flight cancellations. Brussels Airlines crew and pilots are striking on Thursday 23 June until Saturday 25 June. Half of Brussels Airlines flights have already been cancelled.
Ryanair cabin crew are also carrying out a three-day strike from Friday 24 June to Sunday 26 June. Similar strikes will take place in various European countries this month, including Spain and France.
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Union action in the aviation sector comes as employees ask for more support with a workload that has grown as demand for flights has soared since restrictions introduced during the pandemic have been lifted. They also ask for improvements to minimum wages and benefits.
In April, the Irish budget airline already had to cancel all flights operated by Belgian staff as a result of a union strike of its cabin crew. This saw almost 300 flights being cancelled at Brussels Airport and Brussels South Charleroi Airport. The impact on this week's fights is not yet known but yet more cancellations are expected.