Strike Planned At Brussels Airlines For Monday

Passengers flying with Brussels Airlines are set to face disruption tomorrow due to a strike at the Belgian flag carrier. The strike is planned to commence at 05:00 local time, and last for 24 hours. Over 100 flights have already been canceled at one of the busiest times of the year.

More than 3,000 passengers are expected to be impacted by the strike. Photo: Brussels Airlines

A protest against high workloads

Three unions representing pilots and cabin crew at Brussels Airlines have decided to go ahead with their planned strike action on Monday, December 20th. According to The Bulletin, the motive for the industrial action is to protest against high workloads at the Belgian flag carrier. Olivier Van Camp, a spokesperson for the SETCa union, stated that:

We really don’t want to inconvenience the passengers. The problem lies with management. We need to send a message to the parent company in Germany.”

The parent company in question is, of course, Lufthansa. The German flag carrier has been involved with Brussels Airlines since 2009, when it acquired a 45% stake in the operator. Van Camp adds that uneven compensation packages and a lack of respect from management have added to the pain of being overworked for pilots and cabin crew.

Extensive disruption expected

As alluded to earlier, the unions involved in the strike want to avoid disrupting passengers as much as possible. This is reportedly why the strike has been announced in advance, “so that Brussels Airlines can take the necessary measures, and travelers can look for another flight.” The industrial action is going ahead despite a notice of default issued by the airline.

According to Aviation24, the carrier’s letter to the unions threatened them with the prospect of bearing the financial impacts of the strike. These are estimated to be around €2.5 million ($2.81 million). Nonetheless, the unions have rejected this as “ridiculous and pure intimidation.” They maintain that the strike is legitimate as it has been planned since July.

Monday is the first day of the Belgian Christmas holidays. As such, it would normally be a busy day in the grand scheme of things. As it stands, 116 flights will be canceled tomorrow, impacting 3,500 of 12,500 daily passengers. A Brussels Airlines spokesperson told Aviation24 that “all attention is placed on the passengers so that Monday is not too chaotic for them.”

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A bad end to a good year

In the grand scheme of things, Brussels Airlines has been having a decent year until now. Despite the challenges of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it has been able to expand its fleet by confirming the upcoming addition of a ninth Airbus A330. This will help it to regrow its presence in Africa next year, where it plans to resume previously canceled routes.

The carrier has taken the opportunity to reinvent itself by launching a colorful new livery, which has drawn interesting parallels with that of Croatia Airlines. Overall, it will be hoping to minimize disruption to its busy seasonal traffic tomorrow, while coming to an effective resolution with regards to the issues that have prompted the strikes.

What do you make of the planned strike? Will it affect your upcoming travel plans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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