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Iata has condemned as “irresponsible” a sudden strike which forced Brussels airport to close again three weeks after being attacked by terrorist suicide bombers.
Industrial action by Belgian air traffic controllers shut Zaventem airport from around 5pm local time.
The airport had reopened on April 3 with very limited capacity in the wake of the attacks which killed 32 people along with a bombing of the city’s metro.
Other Belgian airports, including nearby Charleroi, were also affected by the controllers' action, which is part of a dispute over employment conditions.
The walkout “significantly disrupted” flights from Brussels airport, Iata said.
Director general and chief executive, Tony Tyler, said: “This action by air traffic controllers is a kick in the teeth for all the airline and airport staff who have worked so hard to reconnect Brussels to the world after the appalling terrorist attack just three weeks ago.
“It is the height of irresponsibility to cut a vital service and doing so without warning can only be seen as malicious.
“If we cannot count on simple human decency from such highly compensated professionals then it’s time for governments to find ways to guarantee the availability of air traffic control services.”
Belgocontrol, the agency which handles Belgian airspace, said it was seeking a solution with the trade union.
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