Brussels Airlines will need to cancel more flights, unions say

Brussels Airlines will need to cancel more flights, unions say
Credit: David Stockman/ Belga

Following a three-day strike by Brussels Airlines staff which led to the cancellation of 315 flights, the airline has decided to cancel nearly 700 flights throughout the summer holidays. Unions say they will need to cancel more due to a lack of staff.

The cabin crew and pilots are at a breaking point with the high workload. Unions representing the workforce consider the work conditions of Brussels Airlines staff during the summer season unsustainable.

Staff is demanding concrete measures to be implemented by management for the summer months of July and August to relieve the pressure.

The airline’s proposals included the cancellation of 6% of its flights, 372 flights in July and 303 in August. This decision includes the 148 flights that had already been cut from the July schedule.

“The financial impact of the above cancellations corresponds to €10.2 million euros in lost revenue. This amount corresponds to the first estimate of the cost of the strike of June 23, 24 and 25,” the company explained. “It is commercially impossible to cancel more.”

Not enough

The unions say they are disappointed but will assess the flight cancellations. There are no planned strikes for the moment, but the unions believe that the measures will not be enough.

“Deleting 700 flights out of 12,400, fine, but it depends on whether it’s flights of 1 hour, 3 hours or 6 hours. It’s not the same thing at all,” said Olivier Van Camp, the permanent secretary of SETCa BBTK union. “Did they abolish 700 flights that suit them, or that suit the workload of the staff?”

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Both unions agree that Brussels Airlines will have to cancel more flights because they simply do not have the staff. “People are already exhausted as the high season has only just begun and they have the right, even the duty, to invoke their inability to fly (“not fit to fly”) if they do not feel capable.”

No refunds

As the previous strike was announced less than 14 days before it took place, Brussels Airlines had to pay compensation to the affected passengers.

However, in the case of the flights that have been cancelled this summer, passengers have been notified in time, meaning they are not entitled to compensation, the airline said.

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