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Heavy fines for air traffic controllers if more flights cancelled
Belgian air traffic controller Skeyes has been ordered by a Brussels court to stop walking out on strike - or be fined €10,000 for every flight that is cancelled or delayed as a result.
Brussels Airlines obtained an emergency ruling from a judge on Thursday, after a sudden strike by traffic controllers earlier in the day led to the closure of Belgian airspace for four hours and left thousands of passengers unable to fly.
About 100 commercial flights serving Brussels had to be cancelled and many others were delayed or rerouted. Brussels Airlines said it had no choice but to turn to a court to seek damages.
It said the recent walkouts by air traffic controllers had cost the airline at least €4 million in damages and were harming its reputation. It said the strikes were often announced at too short notice for the airline to be able to adjust its schedules.
Skeyes faces a €10,000 penalty for any European flight that is cancelled, diverted or delayed by more than an hour from this Friday morning until 26 May. The fine is doubled to €20,000 for long-haul flights.
Photo: Thierry Roge/Belga