Ryanair cancels 44 flights on Saturday at Belgian airport

Pilots in Belgium are walking out this weekend over pay and working conditions.

Ryanair has cancelled 44 flights from Brussels South Charleroi Airport this Saturday due to strikes.

Around 140 flights could be impacted by walkouts on 15 and 16 July at the airport, which is located 45 minutes south of the Belgian capital.

Two trade unions – CNE and ACV Puls – and pilots’ union Beca called the strike over pay and working conditions. As many as 80 per cent of pilots could walk out during the action.

It is currently unclear how many flights will be cancelled on Sunday.

Why are pilots in Belgium going on strike?

Ryanair allegedly told pilots in Belgium that it wanted to cancel an agreement on working hours and rest. Pilots also agreed to take a 20 per cent pay cut at the start of the pandemic which is still in place.

The budget airline was given until 14 July to present a serious proposal to solve these issues. Having failed to do so, the two-day strike is set to go ahead.

“We apologise in advance to passengers planning to travel with Ryanair between now and October 2024 who may be affected by these strikes,” the unions said in a press release.

“But we can no longer allow Ryanair to violate the basic principles of Belgian social dialogue.”

Which flights will be affected by Belgian strikes?

Charleroi Airport has so far listed 44 cancelled flights on its website on Saturday 15 July.

These include journeys to and from Nador-Al Aaroui International and Salé Airport in Morocco; Asturias, Girona and Valencia in Spain; Stockholm in Sweden; Warsaw in Poland; Naples, Marche, Pisa and Treviso in Italy; Bergerac-Dordogne-Périgord, Bordeaux-Mérignac, Nîmes, Carcassonne and Marseille in France; Lisbon in Portugal; Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Pula and Rijeka in Croatia; and Lodz in Poland.

Further strikes could be announced until the COVID-19 agreement expires in October.

Other flights which operate with crews that are based outside of the country will take place as usual. Ryanair has said that 60 per cent of its flights to and from Belgium will operate normally. 

Summer flights could also be heavily impacted if staff at one of Europe’s air traffic control (ATC) centres go ahead with strikes. No specific dates have been confirmed but strikes could begin with just five days notice.

Here are more updates on strikes happening across Europe.

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