Charleroi airport may face flight cancellations due to strike, fears CEO

Philippe Verdonck, the CEO of Charleroi airport, fears that airlines will cancel their flights from Charleroi in the coming days due to the strike action. He stated that this Tuesday 18 October on Belgian Radio 1. According to Verdonck, a crisis meeting is planned for Tuesday morning.

Initially, the doors of the terminal remained closed because too many people were already inside, but since about 8 AM, people have been slowly being allowed back into the airport. "We try to give as much information as possible to the passengers. I understand people's frustration," says the CEO.

Verdonck adds that the airport cannot prevent some flights from departing as good as empty at the moment.

"We ask them to wait as long as possible, until as many passengers as possible can board, but we cannot stop the flights."

The CEO also announced that a crisis meeting is planned this morning. "Tui has already decided to have a large part of its flights depart from Brussels. We are in discussion with other airlines such as Ryanair to see what the plans can be for the coming days. Some of them may cancel all flights the next few days."

A trade union action has plunged Charleroi airport into chaos since Monday. The unrest came after BSCA Security, which is responsible for airport security, decided to award a future public tender for passenger security checks to two operators instead of one. The staff fear that the decision will have an impact on their job security and wage conditions.

"I hoped that the talks could have brought reason last night, but that is not the case," says Verdonck. "I have spoken to the unions and they say 'we don't move'. They keep insisting that they are going to lose jobs. I have been looking for someone from the union to explain it to the passengers since early this morning, but is not there. At the moment we are powerless. (...) I cannot accept that my staff and passengers are the victims of these discussions."

Unions representing security agents at Charleroi Airport (BCSA) blame the airport's security management for a one-day strike there on Monday and the ensuing collateral damage.

“Security agents are not pawns that we divide and move according to our goodwill,” the FGTB, CSC and CGSLB (socialist, Christian and liberal federations respectively), said in a press release issued on Monday afternoon at the end of the strike by staff of the Security Masters company, which seriously disrupted the operations at airport.



© BELGA PHOTO (VIRGINIE LEFOUR) Brussels South Charleroi airport, during a national general strike, Wednesday 13 February 2019, in Charleroi.









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