"Skeyes air traffic controllers could lose their monopoly!"

Belgian mobility minister François Bellot (Francophone liberal) has warned Belgian air traffic controllers at the Belgian air traffic control agency Skeyes that the industrial dispute at the company could lose it its monopoly.  Belgian air traffic has been disrupted for weeks now as air traffic controllers report in sick amid unhappiness about staff shortages and work pressure.

Fortunately most of the disruption happened at night, when air traffic in Belgium was halted because of a lack of Belgian air traffic controllers.  Flights overflying Belgium remain unaffected as these flights are guided by European air traffic controllers.  The Belgian air traffic controllers ensure flights can take off and land safely in Belgium.

Liège Airport is most badly affected where freight flights are hit.

Mr Bellot warns that the next Belgian government will have the job of deciding a future working agreement with Skeyes.  "Patience is wearing thin” he says.  "No Francophone parties will support a continuation of the Skeyes monopoly."

Under EU law the monopoly will have to come to an end someday.  Moreover, technological advances make this possible.

BATA, the association of Belgian airlines, has warned that the conflict must be sorted soon.  The sector is worried about regular reductions to airspace capacity, a limitation in the number of flights.