Liège Airport fulminated against the Skeyes air controllers movement that hit the Airport twelve times since early March, heavily impacting on the company’s activities. “I’m fed up with these Flemish officials who regularly insult ‘lazy’ Walloons,” its president José Happart stated. He evoked a certain “Flemish ‘strike culture’ that dare not speak its name” and requested verification of the actual health situation of air traffic controllers on sick leave.
The Belgian airspace was closed again on Sunday night (1.30 – 4.30 am), when several Skeyes air controllers reported being sick.
Since the beginning of March, between 250 and 300 flights were affected in Liege, which is the major cargo airport in Belgium (open 24/24 and 7/7). Many aircraft were either grounded or late arriving. The actions of Skeyes staff, which often took place at night, caused “terrible” disruption and the cost is to be calculated in millions of euros.
And just when important clients like FedEx, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and AirBridgeCargo are active in the freight segment, Liège Airport said. These companies are losing customers and market shares and are concerned about the situation, which has broken the dynamic momentum established years ago.
Its president Jose Happart suspects behind this movement a certain “unacceptable” complacency among doctors issuing false medical certificates, as well as a “structured” organization. A “Flemish strike culture that dare not speak its name.” “Never have so many people fallen ill at the same time in the same company,” he said in an interview with Belga. For him, it is “sabotage”: “Flanders acting deliberately against Wallonia”.
The company does not want to see thousands of jobs in Liege Airport jeopardized and expects the Federal Minister of Health Maggie De Block to request that “the actual health situation of Flemish civil servants, who work at the expense of the Walloon economy” be checked.
Jose Happart also called for the regionalization of airmanship, as did the Walloon Minister for Airports Jean-Luc Crucke (MR, Reformed Party) last week.