Low-cost airlines Ryanair has said it will be cancelling 28 flights into and out of Belgium today, as a result of a continuing dispute with staff over pay and conditions. However according to the authorities at Brussels and Charleroi airports, the number of cancellations could be higher still – up to 46 flights into and out of both airports, or roughly one-third of the total of scheduled flights in and out of Belgium on a Friday, spokespeople for both airports said.
The difference comes as not all flights are counted if they involve only one-way journeys. Some flights only depart from Brussels; some only arrive and then depart elsewhere. Both kinds of flight are being left out of the count by Ryanair, whose CEO Michael O’Leary earlier this week described Belgium as “a small country” for the airline.
Juggling the figures of the flights using Belgian airports clearly helps reinforce that judgement.
Today sees a strike by cabin crew and pilots of the airline, affected an estimated 250 flights into and out of Europe, or 10% of the company’s total traffic in and out of the continent. Staff are protesting Ryanair’s practice of counting each employee as registered in Ireland, regardless of their true origin or domicile. Ireland offers the company more advantageous social charges.
Today’s strike involves cabin crew from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, as well as pilots from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
The return flights from Charleroi include flights to and from Tenerife, Faro, Milan, Alicante, Saragossa, Bratislava, Rome Ciampino, Seville, Gerona, Santander, Krakow, and Toulouse.
Flights from Brussels affected are: Milan (Malpensa), Larnaca, Lisbon, Rome-Fuimincino, Valencia, Venice, Madrid, Barcelona and Porto.