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Brussels Airlines pilots: ‘No strikes for foreseeable future’

Pilots at Brussels Airlines will not strike over next two weeks
15:52 29/05/2018

Pilots at Brussels Airlines have said that they will not be going on strike again for the time being. Pilots went on strike for two days earlier this month as ongoing talks between union and management broke down.

Brussels Airlines was forced to cancel 500 flights in and out of Brussels Airport, affecting more than 60,000 passengers. Travellers were bumped to other flights or reimbursed in full for their tickets if necessary.

Now unions say that talks are going in the right direction, so there will be no strikes over the next two weeks at least. The talks are focused on better pay and pension benefits for pilots, as well as improved schedules.

‘Race to the bottom’

After many years in the red, Brussels Airlines was bought by German airline Lufthansa in 2016. Even before that, it was experiencing rapid growth, with some 5% more passengers every year over the last few years.

But because the growth has been among the cheapest ticket options, profit hasn’t grown at all, with the airline making €15 million in profit last year. The result is fewer staff and a heavier workload for the pilots as well as the cabin and ground crews.

According to a VRT aviation expert, it’s the “race to the bottom of ticket prices” that has caused the situation at Brussels Airlines. “It has led to a situation where the staff who load our luggage and who clean and take care of the catering, as well as the flight attendants and the pilots in the cockpit, all have to do more for less money and with greater flexibility,” wrote Riadh Bahri. “It’s the result of our hunger to fly as far as possible for as little money as possible.”

Photo courtesy Brussels Airlines

Written by Lisa Bradshaw