Bomb-hit Brussels Airport to Reopen Sunday with Security Boost

Brussels Airport will partially reopen on Sunday, 12 days after it was hit by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) suicide blasts, as Belgian prosecutors charged a third suspect with terrorism over a foiled plot to attack France.

The first three “symbolic flights” will take off for Faro, Turin and Athens from Sunday afternoon, Brussels Airport chief executive Arnaud Feist told reporters, and travellers will have to undergo strict new security controls before check-in. “These flights are the first hopeful sign from an airport that is standing up straight after a cowardly attack,” Feist said.

In the days following April 3, the number of flights will be gradually increased and passenger flights will also land at Brussels Airport. The departing passengers will be received in temporary constructions for check-in. This route leads to the screening platform in the Connector Building, from where the normal routing for passengers will continue further. Arriving passengers will follow the usual routing. Passengers will collect their luggage from the reclaim area and leave via the arrival hall. This was only slightly damaged by the attacks and has since been repaired.

The maximum capacity of the temporary structures is fixed to 800 departing passengers per hour. Other airlines, besides Brussels Airlines, will also recommence their operations at Brussels Airport in the days ahead. In view of the limited capacity, not all airlines will be able to resume all their flights at Brussels Airport. “I am very well aware that not every airline can or wants to return to Brussels Airport. I personally promise that Brussels Airport will do everything in its power to increase as quickly as possible the capacity of our airport and to quickly grow the economic activities of our airport”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.

The final coordinator is currently working on the exact flight schedule for the coming days in consultation with the airlines. Passengers who have questions about their flight can contact their airline. Latest flight information are to be found on the website of Brussels Airport under www.brusselsairport.be.

In the coming weeks, Brussels Airport Company will be working on a strategic plan for the reconstruction of the departure hall. This will take place in two stages, whereby the focus in the first stage will be on restoring the functionality of several check-in desks in the departure hall. In the second stage, the work will focus on a comprehensive reopening of the departure hall. A timing for this has not yet been fixed. The airport’s objective is to have a maximum capacity available before the start of the summer holidays at the end of June, beginning of July.

Passengers can for the time being only access the airport with private cars or taxis. In the coming days, we will examine the possibility of restarting other means of transport, such as bus and train.

At the entrance to the airport area and at the entrance to the check-in zone there will be additional security measures. Brussels Airport would recommend passengers to arrive at least 3 hours before the scheduled departure of their flight and have their identity papers and travel documents handy in the car and at the temporary check-in area.

From ASEAN, Thai Airways International provided the only non stop link to ASEAN out of Brussels. Prior to the killing at the airport, TG was flying four times a week from Bangkok to Brussels. Further connections to ASEAN countries were organised via Abu Dhabi, Doha or Dubai in the Gulf or via Istanbul.

(Source: AFP and Brussels Airport Media Relations)