Airport operator Brussels Airport Company and home carrier Brussels Airlines have jointly launched legal proceedings against Belgian air navigation services provider, skeyes over service disruptions. Airline TUI fly has also joined the interim injunction proceedings.
The action is being brought over the disruption of service at Brussels Airport (BRU). The airport says it faces serious economic loss and reputational damage as a result of the “persistent and unannounced disruptions of service delivery at skeyes”.
In these joint proceedings, the airport operator and the airlines are petitioning for assurances to be provided by skeyes as to the continuity of air traffic in Belgium, “to stop the passengers from being made the victims of the industrial actions at the air navigation services provider.”
Cargo services have also been impacted by the industrial action. A number of cargo flights were also cancelled due to airspace closures, which occurred during peak freighter operation hours mainly during the night and early morning, as a result of limited staffing at skeyes. In particular, the integrator services were hit hard.
The airport operators says that since the middle of February, skeyes has ceased to fulfil its public service obligation to ensure air traffic control services on a continuous basis. Over the past three months, Belgian airspace has been wholly or partially closed at least one in every three days.
In addition, the airport partners are systematically notified late of the decisions to close the airspace, which makes it impossible for them to put in place precautionary measures to offer passengers a suitable alternative, the airport adds.
“This unreliable service delivery by skeyes is having a major financial impact on the airport and also demands great flexibility from our passengers as well as all airport employees. Brussels Airport Company, Brussels Airlines and TUI fly are petitioning for uninterrupted service delivery by skeyes, on pain of penalty payments.”
The proceedings before the President of the Brussels Business Court were initiated on 16 May, “a day on which the airport and the airlines were again forced to put up with serious loss as a result of yet another unannounced work stoppage, which lasted three and a half hours,” the airport says.
A Court ruling is expected shortly.