42 flights were canceled Friday morning from Brussels Airport because of a strike by baggage operator Aviapartner, said Nathalie Pierard, spokesperson for Brussels Airport.
About 24 flights on arrival were affected and the current situation is uncertain. Everything depends on the result of the negotiations between the unions and the management of Aviapartner.
Nearly 300 passengers spent the night in the airport building, reported a spokesperson. There are still some beds for passengers who want to rest but most are looking for a solution from other airlines.
The low cost airline Ryanair is particularly affected by this spontaneous strike but other companies like TAP Portugal, KLM, Air France.
Brussels Airport advises travelers to check whether their flight is handled by Aviapartner via the Brussels Airport website, to check with their airline and to travel light, ideally only with carry-on luggage.
TUI was not severely affected because it has diverted seven of its flights from Brussels to Charleroi, Liège and Rotterdam. Four other flights of the company will leave from Brussels Airport but the staff will load the luggage of the passengers. Delays are expected.
At around 5.30 pm on Thursday, the workers had already stopped loading luggage and performing maintenance on the tarmac, which has “an immediate impact for passengers,” said the spokesperson. The socialist union has justified the action of workers employed by Aviapartner — which provides handling of aircraft Ryanair and TUI — triggered by “a total lack of social consultation” within Aviapartner.
The flights of Brussels Airlines are not concerned, the Belgian company working with Swissport.