Ryanair cancels flights from Belgian airports due to strike

Ryanair cancels flights from Belgian airports due to strike
Ryanair plane at Charleroi Airport. Credit: Belga

Irish budget airline Ryanair has announced it will be cancelling all flights operated by Belgian staff this coming weekend as a result of a union strike of its cabin crew.

From 22 to 24 April, many flights that were scheduled to depart from Brussels International Airport and Charleroi Airport will no longer go ahead as planned, the airline said in a statement on Wednesday evening. This was confirmed by Hans Elsen of the trade union behind the action, ACV Puls.

"Respect, fair pay and a staffing service worthy of the name are what the Ryanair cabin crew is striking for. And with success. Because of the great willingness of the staff to take action, Ryanair has to cancel all flights," he wrote on Twitter.

Elsen had previously told The Brussels Times that, although the business is once again prospering following the Covid-19 pandemic, it fails to invest in the human treatment of and acceptable working conditions for its cabin crew.

Two out of three Ryanair flights will be cancelled at Charleroi on Friday, while at Brussels Aiport tomorrow, ten Ryanair flights will be cancelled, or one in three planned flights. It is not yet clear how many flights will be cancelled on Saturday and Sunday.

'Pointless unilateral strike action'

Ryanair staff, some 650 in Belgium, announced a possible strike at the start of this month, following another failed consultation between unions and management. The company continued to sell tickets for these flights, even after the strike action was announced.

In a statement, Ryanair said that "despite its ongoing efforts to negotiate with our Belgian cabin crew union, CNE, they have decided to abandon negotiations and to instead proceed with pointless unilateral strike action at Charleroi and Zaventem airports in Belgium this weekend."

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"CNE claims they want to ‘teach’ Ryanair a lesson but, regrettably, it will be Ryanair’s customers who are disrupted and impacted by these unnecessary strikes," the statement read, adding that it has "regrettably been forced to cancel a number of flights to/from Charleroi and Zaventem."

"This is clearly very frustrating news and is a direct result of CNE abandoning negotiations and taking unilateral action to disrupt passengers’ plans with this totally unnecessary action. These disruptions are completely beyond our control and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Customers rights

The company stated that all affected customers will be notified by email and advised of their options, such as flight changes or refunds.

However, Ryanair is confident that half of all flights will be operated as scheduled. "We advise customers travelling this weekend to check the status of their flight on their Ryanair app."

Passengers departing or arriving at an airport in the European Union or European Economic Area have been protected against severe flight disruption since 2004 when the EU passed the 261 regulation.

Find out what your rights are if your flight is impacted by the strike.

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