DALLAS – Brussels Airlines (SN) has relaunched flights to two important West African destinations. However, celebrations have been overshadowed by the announcement that SN pilots have filed an unlimited-duration strike notice.
After a two-year absence, the relaunched routes to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and Conakry, Guinea, will bring the total number of Sub-Saharan African destinations operated by SN to 17. Both will be flown thrice weekly by one of the carrier’s Airbus A330s.
The Head of Sales for Sub Sahara Africa for Brussels Airlines and Lufthansa Group, Philippe Saeys-Desmedt, said, “As the Africa expert, we are very happy to again expand our market position in our most important continent.”
Saeys-Desmedt added, “We have been able to rehire many of our previous employees, which means we immediately have the experience that is needed to restart our direct connection between two important African capital cities: Conakry and Ouagadougou and our home base, Brussels Airport. This is an important step that once more confirms our important role as gateway between Europe and Africa.”
Unacceptable Working Conditions
However, storm clouds continue to gather over the airline, as its employees claim that working conditions within the carrier are unacceptable.
In December, a 24-hour strike was held by the entire SN workforce. This came as staff demanded management deploy the actions agreed upon during labor talks in early 2021.
But unions claim that SN has done nothing to implement these changes to improve working conditions. Didier Lebbe, secretary of the Christian trade union ACV, has revealed that a recent survey among the carrier’s pilots shows that 90% favor strike action.
Flight Attendants Could Follow
A similar survey has been sent to the airline’s Flight Attendants. If the result is similar to the pilots, unions could file another strike notice next week.
The exact dates of the strike have not yet been announced, and the issuing of a notice doesn’t necessarily mean that the walkout will go ahead. The unions are now awaiting a response from SN management. But if the industrial action does go ahead, then it is likely to take place at the start of the summer holidays at the beginning of June.
Featured Image: Brussels Airlines OO-SFE Airbus A330-343. Photo: Kochan Kleps/Airways