Brussels Airport baggage handlers′ strike affects travel for thousands | News | DW | 27.10.2018
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Brussels Airport baggage handlers' strike affects travel for thousands

A strike by one of Zaventem International Airport's baggage handling partners has resulted in widespread flight disruptions. This weekend is traditionally busy for air travel because of several holidays in Europe.

Thousands of airline passengers have been affected by an ongoing baggage handlers' strike at Brussels Airport.

The strike, by workers employed by Aviapartner, began on Thursday and is expected to continue until 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning (0500 UTC).

The strike comes during a popular weekend for air travel. It is the end of a school holiday in neighboring Netherlands and the start of the All Saints' festival in Belgium.

Some 70,000 travelers were expected at the airport on Saturday, and 74,000 on Sunday.

Aviapartner workers downed tools — described as "spontaneous" action by the airport — over demands for higher staffing levels.

Airlines affected include Aer Lingus, British Airways, El Al, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, FlyEgypt, Royal Air Maroc, Ryanair and Turkish Airlines.

Management was holding talks with union delegates in an effort to resolve the dispute on Saturday. 

A previous meeting ended without any agreement, according to the Belga news agency.

Luggage stuck on planes

Frustrated passengers traveling on the affected airlines were left without their checked-in bags because Aviapartner was not retrieving luggage from the planes "until Sunday morning,"  according to the airport.

Zaventem international airport has advised passengers intending to fly on the affected airlines to travel with hand luggage only.

Some 110 of Saturday's 550 scheduled flight connections were canceled, according to an airport spokesman.

Brussels Airport's other baggage agent, Swissport, is not involved in the strike. 

kw/jm (AFP, dpa)

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