Brussels Airport and a few airlines to court against Belgian air navigation service provider Skeyes

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According to Belgian financial newspaper L’Echo, Brussels Airport Company, Brussels Airlines, TUI Airlines Belgium and Ryanair turn to the courts to get penalties in case of new strikes by the staff of Belgian air navigation service provider (ANSP) skeyes.

Last week, Brussels Airlines had already got penalties in case of wildcat strikes of skeyes air traffic controllers. Today, Brussels airport joins the fight, with the support of Brussels Airlines and TUI fly Belgium. Together, this Tuesday afternoon, they will seek summary proceedings at the Dutch Chamber of the Brussels Court of the Enterprise to obtain penalties from the ANSP in case of new strikes.

We ask skeyes to ensure the service to which we have a right, otherwise we ask for penalties“, says a spokesperson for TUI. The amount of these penalties should be determined at the hearing.

At Charleroi, Ryanair is acting the same way. According to the newspapers of the Sudpresse group, the low-cost airline will also submit a request to the court to ask a penalty 250,000 euros if the conflict at skeyes continues and disturbs air traffic. The management of Brussels South Charleroi Airport (BSCA) is still considering whether to join the action.

In addition, BSCA, Liege Airport and Sowaer – the public company in charge of airport policy in Wallonia – will present later today a joint action plan to fight the repeated interruptions of service of skeyes. Liege Airport management had also obtained penalties in case of interruption of air traffic at the airport, particularly affected by recent closures of the Belgian airspace.

The press release of Brussels Airport:

Brussels Airport Company and Brussels Airlines instigate interim injunction proceedings applying for continuity of service delivery by skeyes

Airport operator Brussels Airport Company and home carrier Brussels Airlines have jointly instigated interim injunction proceedings before the President of the Brussels Business Court to be awarded continuity of services by skeyes. Airline TUI fly has also joined the interim injunction proceedings.

Brussels Airport faces serious economic loss and reputational damage as a result of the persistent and unannounced disruptions of service delivery at skeyes. In these joint proceedings, the airport operator and the airlines are petitioning for assurances to be provided by skeyes as to the continuity of air traffic in Belgium to stop the passengers from being made the victims of the industrial actions at the air navigation services provider.

Since the middle of February, skeyes has ceased to fulfil its public service obligation to ensure air traffic control services on a continuous basis. Over the past three months, Belgian airspace has been wholly or partially closed at least 1 in every 3 days. In addition, the airport partners are systematically notified late of the decisions to close the airspace, which makes it impossible for them to put in place precautionary measures to offer passengers a suitable alternative.

This unreliable service delivery by skeyes is having a major financial impact on the airport and also demands great flexibility from our passengers as well as all airport employees. Brussels Airport Company, Brussels Airlines and TUI fly are petitioning for uninterrupted service delivery by skeyes, on pain of penalty payments.

The proceedings before the President of the Brussels Business Court were initiated on 16 May, a day on which the airport and the airlines were again forced to put up with serious loss as a result of yet another unannounced work stoppage, which lasted 3 and a half hours this time. The Court is expected to return its ruling shortly.

These proceedings are separate from the interim injunction proceedings which Brussels Airlines instigated by ex parte petition, which it was awarded by the President of the Brussels Business Court on 16 May.

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