A man takes a picture of the flight schedule, at Brussels Airport, Belgium. Over 100 flights were canceled at Brussels International airport after the workers went on strike early on Tuesday afternoon to protest internal personnel moves. The controllers said the action could last deep into Wednesday. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: Etihad Airways delayed a Brussels-bound flight by five hours on Wednesday morning in response to a strike by air traffic controllers in the Belgian capital.

A spokesperson for Etihad Airways said: "Flight EY55 from Abu Dhabi to Brussels was delayed this morning (Wednesday) so that it landed after the strike in Belgium had finished.

"Flight EY55 on Tuesday morning (September 28) was diverted to Cologne in Germany and passengers were then transferred by coach to Brussels."

Emirates Airlines has so far been unaffected by a general strike taking place in Spain on Wednesday. The carrier does not fly to any destinations in Belgium.

Agencies reported that Ryanair, the largest low-cost airline in Europe, has canceled all Spanish domestic flights and most international flights to and from the country on Wednesday because of a planned general strike. The cancellations come after "the failure of the Spanish government to ensure minimum service guarantees for non-Spanish airlines' flights", the Dublin-based airline said in a statement.

EasyJet has canceled a "substantial" number of flights into and out of Spain, spokesman Oliver Aust said. British Airways said there will be potential delays and changes to its schedule as a result of the Spanish industrial action. "We will be doing all we can to minimize any disruption as a result of the general strike in Spain," the airline said in a statement.

Spanish unions agreed with the government that 20 per cent of European flights and 40 per cent of international flights will operate on Wednesday, El Pais reported on September 23. The strike is in protest of austerity measures planned by the government of Spain, which is increasing taxes and cutting spending to rein in the third-largest deficit in the euro region.

Labour unions hope to organise a march of 100,000 workers on European Union institutions in Brussels on Wednesday. The march could be one of the biggest in Brussels in years. It will coincide with the EU Commission making proposals to punish member states that have run up deficits, often by funding social and employment programmes.