Actions by airport police that caused long delays at passport control on their first day on Friday look like being continued throughout the Carnival holidays, police unions said.
On Friday, police began a work to rule at passport control for departures at the airport. The action had been announced earlier in the week, but still managed to catch a lot of passengers unawares.
The result was long queues and anxiety for even those who had turned up on time, and missed flights who cut things a little too thin.
The industrial action is in protest at a shortage of manpower, made worse by a lack of materials, which together have created a working environment unions now say has become intolerable.
“The frustrations of the staff are so great that they don’t want to stop now,” said Luc Breugelmans of the Flemish union ACOD. “The objective of these work to rule actions is to wake up the government.”
The queues at passport control affected mainly flights to destinations outside of the Schengen area. The day began badly at 07.00, when one of the two lanes of the A201 approaching the airport was blocked for 15 minutes. Leading to delays for passengers arriving by car.
Now the airport is advising passengers on its website to allow for longer delays from now until 1 March as a result of the police actions. Passengers should arrive one hour earlier than normal, namely three hours before departure, and use public transport where possible. The police actions are likely also to affect arrivals.
“Brussels Airport and its partners do everything possible to limit the impact of these actions on their passengers and they are deploying extra staff members to help and inform the passengers,” the company said.