Brussels air traffic disrupted as strike continues

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Air traffic into Brussels Airport, which reopened this month after a deadly bomb attack, was disrupted on Wednesday as a strike among air traffic controllers continued.

The airport, one of Europe’s busiest, had reopened on April 3 with limited capacity, restricted by temporary structures and tight security after bombs destroyed the departure hall on March 22.

Labour leaders had asked staff to call in sick on Tuesday due to disagreements over a proposed dispute settlement, including a rise in the minimum retirement age.

“A lot of people called in sick again,” a spokesman for air traffic authority Belgocontrol said on Wednesday. “We are limited to 15 movements an hour until 10 a.m. when we will reevaluate the situation.”

A spokeswoman for Brussels Airport said some 50 flights had been cancelled at the airport so far on Wednesday, out of about 400 scheduled flights.

Flights into Charleroi Airport, a low-cost airline hub, had not been affected on Wednesday, a spokesman said.

The strike had been severely criticised by IATA, the world airlines’ main trade association, which called it a “kick in the teeth” for airlines and airport staff.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, Alastair Macdonald and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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