General strike: Over half of flights departing from Brussels Airport cancelled

General strike: Over half of flights departing from Brussels Airport cancelled
The departure hall of Brussels airport in Zaventem in October 2021 during protest actions. Credit: Belga/ James Arthur

The "national day of action" organised by various trade unions in Belgium on Wednesday will not only see public transport across the country heavily disrupted but will also throw transport abroad by aeroplane into disarray, Brussels Airport announced.

Belgium's largest airport confirmed to The Brussels Times on Monday afternoon that airlines have pre-emptively cancelled 55% of all flights, amounting to around 200 departures. The affected passengers will be informed by the airline with which they were scheduled to fly on Wednesday 9 November.

"We are asking travellers whose flights do go ahead to only travel with hand luggage," Ihsane Chioua Lekhli, Brussels Airport's spokesperson said, mainly because certain operations such as handling or screening of baggage will be understaffed.

As was the case during previous strikes, Brussels Airport has asked passengers not to come to the airport especially early, but to stick to the usual guidelines (two hours in advance for Schengen flights and three hours in advance for non-Schengen flights).

The airport's management had already announced that flights would be cancelled as a result of the strike but had not confirmed what the exact impact would be until now.

Wider impact on Wednesday

Chioua Lekhli added that passengers whose flights are not cancelled should inform themselves well in advance if they are planning to rely on public transport to travel to the airport, as this too will be impacted.

Public transport operators in Flanders and Brussels (De Lijn and STIB), as well as national railway operator SNCB, have confirmed their services will be heavily disrupted throughout the day. Schools are also expected to be impacted.

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The socialist (ABVV/FGTB), Christian (ACV/CSC) and liberal (ACLVB/CGSLB) trade unions are organising a general day of "inter-professional" actions and strikes on Wednesday 9 November.

During the action day, unions want to draw attention to the fact that life is becoming much too expensive for many employees, and call for more purchasing power as well as guaranteed protection of wage indexation.

This will mark the fourth time this year people across Belgium are going on strike and taking to the streets for this reason.

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