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All flights cancelled in Belgium as air traffic controllers go out on strike

Transport in Belgium has been brought to a standstill as unions walk out on strike.

A day long general strike was declared earlier in a dispute over wages and working conditions.

The move hit travellers on the roads and in the skies.

Though Brussels Airlines provided advance warning of the general strike, thousands of travellers unable to change their plans have been stranded at airports across the nation that hosts the EU capital.

Many airlines had already cancelled or rescheduled flights ahead of expected disruption during the strike.

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Air traffic agency Skeyes said that there was “no certainty about the number of staff in a limited number of key posts”.

The only option left was to not allow air traffic, it said.

Some 60,000 people’s travel plans have been affected, with only emergency and military flights allowed to depart or arrive nation-wide.

With air traffic controllers off-duty, even flights scheduled to pass through Belgian airspace have had to reroute and bypass the country.

The strike also encompassed Brussels’ public transport workers and the national rail authority, resulting in major train and bus delays.

Those participating in the 24-hour work stoppage are members of Belgium’s three largest trade unions, who together boast nearly four million members out of the country’s total population of 11 million.