Brussels Airport police strike causes 'major disruptions' for holiday travellers

Brussels Airport police strike causes 'major disruptions' for holiday travellers
The work-to-rule action entails that the airport police will carry out their job strictly by the book, resulting in increasing queues at the passport controls. Credit: Belga

As the airport police at Brussels Airport Zaventem are holding a work-to-rule protest, the long lines at the passport controls are causing disruptions for people wanting to fly on Friday morning.

It is unclear how long the strike will last, but the police have a strike notice until 1 March. "Disruptions could take place during the entire upcoming holiday period," Nathalie Pierard, spokesperson for Brussels Airport, told The Brussels Times.

"Around 8:00 AM this morning, there were major disruptions and the lines almost reached Pier A. Right now, the lines are still long, but it is under control," Pierard said. "However, chances are that the situation will change again in 2 minutes. Everything is constantly moving and changing, but these disruptions could last until at least 1:00 PM today, especially for the manual passport checks," she added.

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The airport is expecting some 40,000 departing passengers on Friday, with the holiday period starting on Saturday, reports Het Nieuwsblad. About 30% of them will be non-Schengen passengers, according to the airport.

"As they will have to go through the manual passport checks, they should be at the airport at least three hours in advance," said Pierard.

It is not the intention to upset travellers, the police said, but to highlight the problem of a shortage of manpower within the service. According to police unions, the airport detail is operating with a shortage of 140 officers.

Talks with the federal police management have been going on for some time, but matters came to a head on Wednesday when a meeting broke up without finding common ground.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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