In this work, the influence of structured packing on gas holdup in gas-liquid-solid dispersions has been studied. The experiments were carried out in an empty column and in column containing structured packing operating under identical conditions. Glass beads and silicon carbide particles were used as the solid material and the volumetric fraction of solids was varied from 0% to around 10%. The liquid viscosity was strongly modified using water, CMC solution and glycerol. The experimental results obtained with both columns were compared with previous results obtained in two-phase bubble columns. The influence of structured packing on the total gas holdup for different superficial gas velocities was found to be similar with and without suspended solids. Therefore, the results obtained in this work were analysed on the basis of correlations derived earlier for gas-liquid dispersions. Excepting the results obtained with glycerol, these correlations can predict the gas holdup of three-phase bubble columns with reasonable accuracy. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.