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Belgian ATC Strikes “Malicious” as Brussels Struggles to Restart Operations, IATA

The re-start of operations at Brussels Airport after the attacks of 22 March has been further complicated by industrial action by air traffic controllers in Belgium leading to a number of flight delays and cancellations.

IATA has condemned the industrial action in a curt and strongly worded statement:

“This action by air traffic controllers is a kick in the teeth for all the airline and airport staff who have worked so hard to reconnect Brussels to the world after the appalling terrorist attack just three weeks ago,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “It is the height of irresponsibility to cut a vital service and doing so without warning can only be seen as malicious.”

“If we cannot count on simple human decency from such highly-compensated professionals then it’s time for governments to find ways to guarantee the availability of air traffic control services,” Tyler added.

Airlines for Europe (A4E) which has also been a vocal proponent of immediate action by the European Council to prevent national air traffic controllers from leaving their posts, calling for restrictions on industrial actions similar to those imposed in the United States. The European airline organisation has issued a statement pointing out the need for solidarity as Brussels tries to recover.

“Thousands of passengers are stranded..due to a walkout of the Belgian air traffic controllers. That is unbelievable and shows no solidarity with all the men and women at the airlines and the airport who try to get as many flights as possible up in the air,” the organisation states. “A4E strongly condemns this walkout which could have never been more wrong than now.”

“Tourism is already suffering and people avoid business meetings in Brussels. We all should stand together now and give Brussels and Belgium the right support to recover as soon as possible. Everyone in aviation and in Belgium deserves that.”–A4E


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