Brussels Airport closed to flights in labor dispute

Baku, April 13, AZERTAC

Flights in and out of Brussels Airport were suspended Tuesday after air-traffic controllers walked off the job in a pension dispute, just over a week after the hub resumed serving flights following the fatal terrorist attacks in March, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Flights at other airports in Belgium have also been impacted by the labor dispute, said a spokesman for Belgocontrol, Belgium’s air-traffic control organization. Authorities said they were uncertain how long the disruption would last and that they were working on operational measures to mitigate the impact.

Shortly after the suspension was announced, police closed off access roads to Brussels Airport as they inspected a suspicious car. The airport later said that the roads were safe and had been reopened.

The website of Charleroi Airport, Brussels’s secondary airport, showed cancellations, diversions and undefined delays for arriving flights until the end of Tuesday.

The flight disruptions were sparked by the guild of air-traffic controllers, which has called on its members to call in sick over a proposal to raise the age at which they can effectively retire. Employees previously qualified for a pre-retirement inactive status at age 55, which is being raised to 58. Some of the labor groups representing air-traffic controllers on Tuesday had agreed to the changes, but not the guild.

The Belgocontrol spokesman said the changes reflect new government pension rules.

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