Airlines cancelling all flights to and from Zaventem

Summary

Brussels Airlines as well as all tour operators have cancelled all flights in and out of Brussels Airport. Passengers will be reimbursed or can change the dates of their bookings

Antwerp Air also suspends flights

Airlines are announcing the cancellation of all or most flights out of and to Brussels Airport in Zaventem. The move is in keeping with the federal government’s recommendation that people not travel abroad because of the coronavirus.

Brussels Airlines has cancelled all of its flights to and from the airport starting on Saturday. A few flights will still take off and land this week, including to repatriate Belgians and airline crew members. From Saturday, all flights will stop.

Brussels Airlines runs some 250 flights a day out of the airport. It hopes to resume most of the flights by 20 April, a spokesperson said, though admits that is a best-case scenario.

Refunds or later flights

Anyone with a ticket to fly during the period should have received a communication from the airline about their options. If a flight is cancelled, customers can either request a refund or change the dates of their flight at no charge.

The airline is asking for customers to not contact them over the next few days unless they were meant to fly on one of those days. Their customer service department is overwhelmed with queries, and they want to prioritise those meant to fly this week.

Tour operators TUI, Joker, Sunweb, Corendon and Lauwers have also cancelled all flights to and from Brussels Airport, until at least 5 April. The airlines are currently repatriating passengers on holiday abroad.

We are repatriating a majority who are abroad, but we cannot reach everyone

- Joker spokesperson Luc Callewaert

Most travellers still in Belgium have already cancelled their flights, in any case, Joker spokesperson Luc Callewaert told VRT, and yet “tens of thousands” are still expected to fly back over the next few days. “We are repatriating a majority who are abroad, but we cannot reach everyone,” Callewaert said.

While they have emailed and texted all their customers, they haven’t had a response from everyone. “There are always customers who slip through the net.”

Because the operators deal in flight-hotel packages, customers just have one place to go with queries. All of them have the same conditions: Those who are currently abroad and have to cut their holiday short will be partially reimbursed. Those who haven’t left yet will be either fully reimbursed or able to choose a later date.

Finally, Air Antwerp, which operates flights between Antwerp Airport and London City, has also cancelled all of its flights. The airline will run flights today and tomorrow to allow passengers to return home and then will scrap all flights until at least 12 April.

Photo courtesy Brussels Airlines