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Ryanair to close down operations at Brussels Airport over the winter, employees to be relocated
Ryanair’s two Brussels-based aircraft will leave Zaventem airport from 29 October until at least the end of March, resulting in the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
Other Ryanair aircraft based abroad will continue to land at Brussels Airport and the low-cost carrier will maintain its hub at Brussels South in Charleroi.
The announcement was made at a special meeting of Ryanair works council in Belgium on Wednesday. Chief executive Michael O’Leary said he would only resume operations in Brussels if the airport tax was dropped, reports VRT.
He blamed the closure on the federal government’s tax increase from €2 to €10 on flights under 500km in distance.
"We have no other solution following the price increase in Zaventem and the absurd decision of the Belgian government to introduce new taxes on flights whose environmental efficiency is optimal while exempting more polluting long-haul and transfer flights from the ecotax," said O’Leary, reports RTBF.
As for the 17 Ryanair pilots and 44 cabin staff currently based at Brussels Airport, the company is looking into relocating them to Charleroi or other European hubs of the Irish company.
The CNE union, which was present at Wednesday’s meeting, said staff could be transferred to Ryanair bases in their home countries. A shuttle service would be organised between Brussels and Charleroi for staff relocated to the Brussels South hub.