Three flights take off from Brussels Airport after 12-day shutdown caused by a deadly bombing attack

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Three flights take off from Brussels Airport after 12-day shutdown caused by a deadly bombing attack

Three flights will be taking off from Brussels Airport today after a 12-day shutdown caused by a deadly bombing attack.

Arnaud Feist, chief executive officer of Brussels Airport, said the Brussels Airlines flights on Sunday to Athens in Greece, Turin in Italy and Faro inPortugal were chiefly symbolic.

He said Belgium’s biggest airport should be back at about 20 per cent of capacity from Monday and able to process 800 passengers an hour. Mr Feist hopes full service can be restored by the beginning of July in time for the summer vacation season.

The airport has been closed since devastating suicide bombings on March 22nd in its main terminal and a Brussels subway train killed 32 people and wounded 270. Prior to that, the key European hub usually handled about 600 flights a day.

New security measures have been ordered at the airport to minimise the chances of any repeat attacks.

Police were conducting spot checks of vehicles before they arrived and a large white tent was set up outside the terminal to screen IDs and travel documents before allowing anyone to enter the building. A drop-off parking area outside the terminal has been closed.

The bombers entered the check-in area with suitcases packed with explosives and nails, and the resulting blasts collapsed the ceiling and shattered windows in addition to killing 16 people.

The attacks have prompted a wider discussion among aviation authorities in many countries over whether to impose routine security checks at the entry to airport terminals

Until the terminal can be fully repaired, Mr Feist said departing passengers will first enter a temporary structure erected on the tarmac, then go to a specially-built check-in area.

There will be no access by rail or public transport to the airport for the foreseeable future, he said.

Delta, meanwhile, said it was suspending service between Atlanta and Brussels until March 2017 due to the continued uncertainty surrounding the airport’s re-opening and weakening demand.

It still plans to resume service between New York’s John F Kennedy Airport and Brussels once the Brussels Airport provides clearance.