New Pilots

Brussels Airport Ready to Reopen

2016 04 01

Brussels Airport on Thursday received approval from the fire services and the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) for a partial restart of passenger flights at the facility, which sustained severe damage in a terrorist attack on March 22. However, government authorities have yet to formally decide on a restart date, said the airport in a statement. As a result, no passenger flights will take place until at least the weekend. The airport hasn’t operated since March 22, when three bombs that exploded—two at the facility’s departure area and a third at a Brussels subway station—killed 35 people.   

Over the past few days Brussels Airport, public fire services, the BCAA and federal police and defense personnel evaluated the results of a large-scale trial run involving 800 airport staff on Tuesday. On March 24 crews began erecting temporary structures including an area equipped with check-in desks at the airport’s Connector building, which links the passenger terminal to the gate area called Pier A. From there, a temporary route runs along a service stairway to the screening platform of Connector, which emerged from the attacks unscathed.

Officials estimate the provisional infrastructure will allow the airport to receive 800 departing passengers per hour, or 2.5 million departing passengers a year. That amounts to 20 percent of the normal capacity at Brussels Airport.

Meanwhile, plans call for arriving passengers to pass through the usual baggage claim and arrival area in the terminal, where crews repaired minor damage from the blasts.