After calling in German air traffic controllers from Thursday night to early Friday morning to enable planes blocked in Liège to take off, Wallonia says it will suspend payments to Skeyes as long as labour tensions continue to cripple the company’s operations. “I’ve asked the administration to block our payments to Skeyes,” the Walloon Minister in charge of Airports, Jean-Luc Crucke, said on Friday on Radio Television Francophone Belge (RTBF). “We pay eight million euros in fees per year. As long as we do not receive the service requested, Wallonia will certainly not pay anything more, since Skeyes is not meeting its obligations.”
Crucke has expressed his exasperation on numerous occasions at the labour conflict that has been dragging on at Skeyes, paralysing night-time air traffic.
Early this week, he had called on the company to set up a minimum service and threatened to bypass the services of the Belgian air traffic controllers and use foreign ones. He also launched the idea of regionalising air-traffic controls, an idea that Sowaer, the Walloon agency that manages airports, has however, judged inconceivable.