After having to cancel the majority of the flights during a 3-day strike action, the management of Brussels Airlines has now announced the further cancellation of 675 flights during the months of July and August, Belga news agency reports.
This is the equivalent of 6% of the total number of flights scheduled for the following months and the measure was taken to meet pilots and cabin crew demands for the airline to reduce their workload.
We expect the management to cancel a number of flights during the months of July and August. We see that as the only solution at the moment to reduce the workload.Olivier Van Camp of the socialist trade union told Belga
Staff at Brussels Airlines was on strike from 23 to 25 June, which led to the cancellation of 316 flights, impacting the travel plans of about 40,000 passengers. Pilots and cabin crew demanded measures to reduce the work pressure they are under in a dispute that has been ongoing since last summer. After the strike, unions and the airline management met, but no agreeable resolution was reached, giving way to threats of further industrial action.
148 summer flights had already been cancelled, but, according to the unions, that is not enough. Now, the airline is taking further action, cancelling over 500 more flights in the following months, bringing the total to 675. Overall, 372 flights have been cancelled for the month of July and 303 for the month of August.
We are in an exceptional situation. The industry has shrunk during the past two years and now suddenly in just a couple of months we are back to as good as full capacity. This is challenging and difficult. Not only for our airline, but for the entire sector.Peter Gerber, Brussels Airlines CEO told VRT News
The airline’s CEO Peter Gerber has said in an interview for VRT News that he understands the staff’s concerns and they are working with the unions to find a solution together, but “it is commercially impossible to cancel any more flights”. The cost of these summer cancellations was estimated at €10.2 million in lost earnings, as much as last month’s 3-day strike.
Gerber highlighted the cost of these cancellations to the airline, comparing the aviation summer season to that of the seaside hospitality sector. Summer is peak season for travelling and it compensates for the less busy autumn and winter months, thus even just 6% less flights have a great impact on the airline’s revenues.
A social consultation between Gerber and the unions is to be concluded today to see if workers are happy with the measures or if further action is needed. Today’s meeting only concerns the short-term measures for the summer season, with another consultation scheduled on 23 August for the parties to discuss long-term solutions.