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Record delays at Brussels Airport in July, the most in all of Europe
Brussels Airport had more delayed flights than any other European airport at the beginning of this month, according to figures from the Official Aviation Guide (OAG), a platform that gathers data on air travel.
OAG found that 72% of flights out of Brussels Airport did not depart on time, according to data from 1 to 10 July.
Frankfurt airport in Germany came in second for record delays, with 68% of its flights leaving late, followed by Eindhoven in the Netherlands with 67%.
Brussels Airport has been hit with multiple strikes in recent weeks, which come on top of existing staff shortages amid a sharp rise in travel demand following the lifting of most pandemic-related restrictions.
Other European airports and airlines are also having difficulty meeting the new travel boom, with delays and cancellations commonplace, but data indicate that Brussels Airport has fared the worst.
Brussels Airport challenged OAG’s data with its own figures: “For the first nine days of July, according to our data, there was a punctuality of 36.8%. Those are flights that depart within 16 minutes,” spokesperson Nathalie Pierard told Bruzz.
It’s not clear what threshold OAG uses to determine if a flight is delayed.
“We are aware that punctuality is important for passengers and it is for us too; however, the satisfaction of our passengers is our priority,” Pierard said.
“Customer-oriented airlines prefer to wait for the last customers. Therefore, they sometimes prefer to delay the plane for a few minutes so that everyone is on board.”
Pierard also cited the fact that Brussels Airport is an important connecting hub in Europe and many travellers book flights with short layovers.
“A smooth connection is certainly positive for passengers, but when everywhere is crowded, planes often arrive late, which also prevents them from departing on time. That’s beyond our control,” Pierard explained, adding that passengers with EU flights should arrive at the airport two hours in advance, and those with non-EU flights should aim to be at the airport three hours in advance.