‘Long border control queues and delayed flights’: Action at Belgian airports
Share article:
Share article:

‘Long border control queues and delayed flights’: Action at Belgian airports

Credit: Belga

As the autumn break kicks in, tens of thousands of travellers passing through Brussels and Charleroi airports on Friday could face delays as the police at the border controls are planning a work-to-rule action.

So far at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, which already put out a warning to travellers to factor in extra time to account for the coronavirus checks as it expected an increase in the number of passengers, several flights have been delayed as a result of the action.

“The action started at 6:30 this morning, and there was soon a longer queue at the passport control for non-Schengenflights, this resulted in people waiting in line for around 1.5 hours, and some planes have been delayed by up to 70 minutes,” Nathalie Pierard, Brussels Airport spokesperson, told The Brussels Times.

She added that, for now, the queues have shortened and the waiting times are between half an hour to an hour, however, this could worsen once again. Pierard added the action could last all weekend.

Brussels Airport has since notified people flying to a country within the Schengen area to be present at least two and a half hours in advance, while for destinations outside the Schengen area, this has been expanded to three hours in advance.

Time pressure and false promises

The federal police are holding a punctuality action – a form of job action in which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of their contract, or precisely follow all safety or other regulations.

“The people at the border controls will do their job thoroughly, which will, unfortunately, cause long queues,” Luc Breugelmans of the union ACOD told Het Nieuwsblad.

The reason for the action is the breakdown of the wage negotiations, as well as the sometimes precarious working conditions of the police at airports. According to Breugelmans, the police do not get enough time to check travellers’ documents, which “results in officers being rushed and making mistakes.”

“What makes the police really angry is that they are put under pressure to work faster with the few people they have. That can lead to dangerous situations, they should realise that by now,” Breugelmans said.

They are also protesting against staff shortages and the fact that a pay rise, promised following the 2016 attacks at the airport, never materialised.

Breugelmans said that it is a coincidence the action is taking place on Friday when it will be much busier at the airport. “Of course, the effect is greater then. Not nice for the travellers, but better now than next summer.”

Meanwhile, Brussels Airport itself said it will do “everything it can to avoid queues as much as possible.”

Latest news

Intervention hotline 1722 activated following bad weather warnings
Following bad weather warnings from Belgium's Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI), the Federal Public Service (FPS) Home Affairs has ...
Thousands march in Brussels to raise awareness of violence against women
More than 3,000 people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday afternoon for a national march to raise awareness of violence against women in ...
Efficacy of vaccines against new variant known in a few weeks, virologist says
The efficacy of the current coronavirus vaccines against the new Omicron variant will be clear in one to two weeks, Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst ...
Scientists could have communicated better during pandemic, survey shows
The majority of Flemish people continue to trust scientists, however, only half of them feel scientists communicated understandably during the ...
Closing borders and new travel restrictions: Countries react to Omicron variant
As more cases of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus are being reported across the world, more and more countries are imposing tougher travel ...
Several rush hour train services to be scrapped from Monday
Up to ten peak time trains to and from Brussels will be temporarily cancelled starting from Monday, Belgian railway company SNCB announced this ...
Europe’s largest vintage clothes store is in Ghent this weekend
Europe's largest pop-up store for second-hand clothes is once again setting up shop in Ghent on Sunday, offering more than five tonnes of vintage ...
Animal welfare in EU’s pig meat sector: What’s wrong?
EU has put into place legislation to ensure that animal welfare conditions are respected in its agricultural policy but the breaches of its ...
‘Not feasible’: Doctors refuse to follow new testing strategy
Doctors have warned they will not follow the government's adapted testing strategy which would see vaccinated people who were in close contact with a ...
Flanders introduces ‘invisible’ speed cameras
New digital speed cameras that are essentially invisible to the road user are being introduced on various roads and motorways in Flanders, Flemish ...
Warnings issued for slippery roads across Belgium
Drivers have been asked to watch out for slippery roads from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening, as snow and cold temperatures are expected ...
Testing rules following high-risk contact eased for vaccinated people
The coronavirus testing policy following a high-risk contact has been eased, meaning a vaccinated person who was in contact with an infected person ...