Due to staff shortages among air traffic controllers of skeyes, flights will not be able to land on or take off from Liege airport for four hours in the night from Wednesday to Thursday. Dominique Dehaene, the spokesman for skeyes, rather speaks of a strike.
The nuisance has to do with the lack of standby air traffic controllers for night shifts. Therefore, nobody can be called to fill in for absences. That problem can be felt in Canac2, the air traffic control centre in Steenokkerzeel which manages air traffic up to 7,500 meters, which is the case for the aircraft on their way to and from Belgian airports until they are taken over by the control towers.
All day long there are shortages in that Canac2 centre, but during the day, they do not have very serious consequences, apart from some delays. But during the night there won’t be enough people to guarantee full service, Dehaene explains. That is why the eastern sector of Belgian airspace will be closed for a while. “This has the concrete consequence that from 01:15 to 05:15 flights will not be able to take place to and from Liège airport,” said the spokesman. Most cargo flights take place at that airport during the night, hence the consequences are serious for Liege Airport.
Thursday at 16:30 management and trade unions will sit around the table to find a way out of the social conflict. The unions were already carrying out warning actions on Tuesday evening and night, which led to alternating stoppages at various airports. From 04:00 to 06:00, the entire Belgian airspace was closed.
Both the ACV/CSC-Transcom and VSOA/SLFP unions filed a strike notice expiring on 23 March with skeyes. They mention a 25-points list of problems, including understaffing and excessive workload.