Starting early morning on 8 December, about 40 stranded passengers started protesting to show their anger for their flight being cancelled by blocking access to Terminal B at Brussels Airport.
Brussels Airlines flight SN369 took off from the airport on 7 December around 11 am. It was headed to Cameroon’s Douala International Airport, but about 45 minutes into the flight, when the plane was above the city of Orléans, in France, the pilots noticed some irregularities in the board. They decided to turn back, made a U-turn, and headed to Brussels Airport, where they were instructed to enter a holding pattern. The plane circled around for a few hours until it was finally allowed to land a little before 4 pm.
Once back at the airport, passengers were not allowed to leave the transit terminal, as are not EU citizens and do not have a visa for entering Belgium. The flight was then cancelled altogether as the technical problems could not be solved for another departure. The next flight, on 8 December, was already fully booked, so the passengers are still at the airport at the moment.
“On Wednesday evening, a Brussels Airlines aircraft (an Airbus A330 registered OO-SFX) destination Cameroon was forced to return to Brussels Airport due to a technical problem. As a result, the aircraft could no longer return to Douala and the news was not well received by some passengers in the transit zone. When the passengers discovered that they couldn’t continue their journey on Thursday morning because the flight was fully booked and that they are not allowed to leave the transit area, they decided to block the access of pier B to all passengers”, said Brussels Airport spokesperson Nathalie Piérard.
The travellers decided to block the entrance to Terminal B, the airport’s terminal for flights outside the Schengen area. The Brussels Times reported that the blockade caused massive disruptions, as other passengers could not get to their gates in time and multiple other flights had to be delayed because of it. However, vrt news says the protest did not in fact cause any disruptions, the other passengers being able to just go around the action and still reach their gates in time.