NORTHWICH'S mayor has been stranded in Brussels with a hefty bill to fly home in the wake of this morning's terror attacks.

Cllr Andy Stott is one of a party who flew to Brussels South Charleroi Airport this morning on a fact-finding mission to the European Parliament, only to find the city in lock-down following explosions at Brussels International Airport and the Maelbeek metro station.

The group of 28, who were booked to return home tomorrow evening, said they have been told by airline Ryanair that it will cost them £6,000 to fly home tonight instead, equating to more than £200 each.

Cllr Stott said: "Just as we got on the plane in Manchester this morning things started coming in saying that there had been two bombs - and they let us fly.

"We are at the southern airport, not the one where the bomb attacks were, but there's nothing moving, there's soldiers everywhere with guns, planes are grounded and there's no traffic movement.

"We're sat here.

"There's 28 of us and we've already paid for flights for tomorrow.

"They want to charge us £6,000 to bring that forward 24 hours.

"There is already a flight scheduled and there are 28 seats on that flight home but it will cost £6,000 between us to go on it."

He added: "It's one of those things – you can't complain because you know what's happened but no-one seems to be talking to us about getting us out of here."

A spokesman for Ryanair said: "This group of 28 passengers were travelling from Brussels Charleroi to Manchester tomorrow, Wednesday, at a fare of £20 each.

"They arrived at the ticket desk in Brussels Charleroi this morning requesting to change their flight from Brussels Charleroi to today, Tuesday, and in common with all other passengers were offered this change at our change fee (£60) plus the upgrade to the available fare (£154) on this evening’s flight.

"The reason for the upgrade is that there were only 28 seats remaining on this evening’s flight.

"This group declined to accept this change offer as is their right and we look forward to welcoming them on their scheduled flight from Brussels Charleroi tomorrow.

"As of 1.30pm today, Tuesday, there are only 12 seats remaining on this evening’s flight from Brussels Charleroi to Manchester as Ryanair has been prioritising free changes and transfers for passengers travelling on flights to and from Brussels Zaventem today and tomorrow.

"We regret any inconvenience caused to this group but our priority today remains re-accommodating our disrupted Brussels Zaventem passengers, and all other passengers are free to avail of our change facility in the normal manner."