‘Brussels Airport Company and Brussels Airlines have jointly instigated interim injunction proceedings before the President of the Brussels Business Court to be awarded continuity of services by skeyes. Airline TUI fly has also joined the interim injunction proceedings’ according to Brussels Airport.
The three companies are therefore going to court together because of the problems with the Belgian air traffic controller skeyes, the former Belgocontrol. Since December 2018, there are a lot of problems going on in the Belgian air traffic controller company. Due staff shortages, illness and sporadic trade union actions, parts of the airspace under skeyes’ control have been forced to close. Last week, air traffic at Brussels Airport was down for more than three hours.
Skeyes actually changed the name because of the bad reputation, but it doesn’t look like much will change, right? Past week, at the request of Brussels Airlines, the judge imposes fines of 10,000 euros on Skeyes and more if services are still disrupted from Friday morning. The financial loss amounts to 10 million euros for the Brussels Airport Company and 4 million euros for Brussels Airlines. These are quite large amounts because strike announcements are communicated very late and airlines do not have time to look for alternatives.
The strikes didn’t end on Friday, so today, Brussels Airport, Brussels Airlines and TUI Airlines Belgium are petitioning ‘an uninterrupted service delivery by skeyes, on pain of penalty payments.’ Brussels Airport is demanding a penalty of as much as 50,000 euros per affected flight.
Skeyes is the only air traffic controller on Belgium and controls the airspace under 24,500 feet in Belgium and parts of Luxemburg. Prime minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, called for responsibility.The southern part of Belgium, Wallonia, has already clearly indicated that the monopoly is no longer sustainable and hopes for a permanent solution.
In anticipation of the trial, which would take place on 18 June, German air traffic controllers will help to keep the airspace open as much as possible.