Strike activity by air traffic controllers costing ‘millions of euros’ at LGG

Liège Airport (LGG) said that the absence of air traffic controllers during the night of March 25 and 26, due to employee strike activities, has seriously affected operations, including cargo flights, and is costing companies at the airport “millions of euros,” according to a story from Aviation24.

Belgium-based Skeyes, the autonomous public company in charge of the safety of air traffic in the civil airspace for which the Belgian State is responsible, is currently engaged in negotiations with its labor unions. The organization also conducts its services at other European airports, including Frankfurt (FRA), Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) and London Heathrow (LHR).

While some agreements have been made, there are still outstanding conversations underway, e.g. setting a cap on the number of days an employee can be scheduled to work in a row, as well as the number of hours an employee can be scheduled to work per week.

“These social movements are hijacking all our customers,” Luc Partoune, CEO of LGG was quoted saying in Aviation24. “Skeyes no longer provides the service for which it is paid. It is totally abnormal that a minority of air traffic controllers endanger the economic activity of our airport, airlines and their customers.”

He said that, so far, there have been 12 days in which the air traffic controllers have protested in 2019.

“We regret the inconvenience for airports, air traffic and passengers, but we continue to negotiate,” Dominique Dehaene, communications manager at Skeyes, told Air Cargo World. “We hope to get this done as soon as possible so everything will go back to normal.”

As long as negations between Skeyes and its unions are still being debated, there could be more strike days ahead, Dehaene said.

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