Brussels Airlines Cancels 700 Summer Flights, More To Follow?

Brussels Airlines has canceled almost 700 flights this summer in a bid to ease the pressure on its employees and reduce their high workload. This figure equates to approximately 6% of the airline’s flights over the peak summer season.

527 more flights have been canceled in July and August, on top of the 148 cancelations that had already been announced. The Star Alliance member announced the additional cancelations on Monday, following meetings with union leaders to discuss the ongoing dispute.

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At the end of June, three days of strike action by the airline’s cabin crew and pilots led to over 300 flights being canceled. For Brussels Airlines, the loss of revenue of € 10 million ($ 10.2 million) from the 700 canceled flights is similar in amount to the loss of revenue caused by the three days of strike action.

Last month’s strike action hit at the start of the summer holidays in Belgium. Photo: Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines spokesperson, Maaike Andries, said,

“Today we are clearly meeting the demand of the unions. We hope to be able to rule out further actions definitively and to give our passengers a real guarantee. “

Is further action on the cards?

According to the unions, Brussels Airlines has been aware of the problem of high workloads for over a year but has failed to take the necessary steps to alleviate it. While there are no further strikes planned at the moment, the unions have stated that the 700 cancelations are not enough, and that more needs to be done to relieve the pressure on the airline’s frontline employees.

Trade unions have stated that the 700 cancelations are not enough in order to alleviate the high workload currently being experienced by their members. Photo: Brussels Airlines

Permanent secretary of SETCa BBTK union, Olivier Van Camp, said,

“Deleting 700 flights out of 12,400, fine, but it depends on whether it’s flights of 1 hour, 3 hours or 6 hours. It’s not the same thing at all. Did they abolish 700 flights that suit them, or that suit the workload of the staff? “

However, the airline’s management has ruled out further cancelations, stating that it was “commercially impossible” for any more flights to be removed from the schedule.

A collective labor agreement was signed in 2020 to secure the airline’s future in the midst of the pandemic. A further meeting with the unions has now been planned for August 23rd to discuss longer-term solutions to the problems currently being experienced by the carrier.

Brussels Airlines has nine Airbus A330-300s in its fleet. Photo: Brussels Airlines

The disruption continues on both sides of the Atlantic

Brussels Airlines is not the only European carrier to be affected by strikes and disruption this week. Pilots at Scandinavian Airlines yesterday voted for strike action that will affect around 30,000 passengers per day.

British Airways has just announced the cancelation of 650 flights in July as part of the UK Government’s slot alleviation program. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, North American carriers faced a barrage of delays and cancelations over the July 4th holiday weekend.

Only time will tell if Brussels Airlines will be able to satisfy the unions going forward and avoid more strike action.

What do you think of the 700 cancelations made by Brussels Airlines? Have you been affected? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

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