On Saturday 22 April 2017, more than 33,000 visitors got a unique look behind the scenes of our airports during the second edition of the Luchtvaartdag.
In total, more than 100 activities were organized and offered visitors a unique and unprecedented view on the different activities involved in running an airport or aviation business. “The airport gives our economy wings”, says Flemish Minister of Mobility Ben Weyts. “A lot of attention is given to the burden of aviation. But the many positive contributions of our airports to our economy and wealth for example are very underestimated”, he continued.
This second edition of the Luchtvaartdag was organized by the airports of Antwerp, Kortrijk-Wevelgem, Oostende-Brugge and Brussels Airport, as well as the Vlaamse MotorVliegclubs, Defense, the Flemish aerospace industry and the Flemish Government.
The versatile program attracted 33,000 visitors, to the delight of the airports and the various aviation partners. “It would not surprise me if our visitors included future aircraft technicians, pilots or even traffic controllers”, said Weyts.
Our airports are very important contributors to the Flemish economy. They account for up to 41,000 full-time jobs and an added value of no less than 3.2 billion euros per year. Additionally, the airports are of very strategic importance for the development of high technology.
We visited the airport of Antwerp and were surprised by the many activities that were organized by the various aviation partners that operate at this regional airport.
After a security check, visitors were granted access to the airside apron of the airport and were welcomed by the many aircraft on static display, including an Embraer of Tui Fly Belgium, which could even be visited. Other aircraft on static display included a Fouga Magister.
Companies that could be visited on the apron included The Aviation Factory, SkyWings, Flying Group, NextGen Aviation and BAFA, the latter being a well renowned and one of the biggest pilot schools in Belgium offering full training for future airline pilots Visitors were also able to see live demonstrations at stands of the Police or Airport Security. We enjoyed a live security demonstration, including EDD (explosives detection dogs) at the stand of Securitas.
After this first part of our visit to the Luchtvaartdag at Antwerp Airport, we continued our journey and walked to the famous terminal building of the airport. After another security check, visitors could visit various stands, including Belgocontrol and TUI. Children were also able to play a virtual reality game at the TUI stand, while seated in a real aircraft seat.
Before heading to the next part of our visit to the Luchtvaartdag, we made a quick stop at the Belair, a famous bar and restaurant in the departure hall of Antwerp Airport, offering breathtaking views of the main apron at the airport. It also has a terrace where you can see aircraft take off and land.
Finally, we headed to the Stampe & Vertongen Museum, located just next to the terminal building. This museum was named after two Belgian aviation pioneers who started their own aircraft factory and aviation school in 1923. It offers a very nice collection of vintage aircraft that fought some of the most famous air battles in World War I. It also has two Fouga Magisters in its collection of which one was on static display on the apron, and one was in the museum.
It’s obvious to say that we enjoyed our stay at Antwerp Airport very much, and we are already looking forward to the next edition of the Luchtvaartdag.
Brussels Airport, that handles 21.8 million passengers and 495,000 tons of cargo per year, is one of the busiest airports in Europe. Quite a few people are very interested in so much activity and in what takes place behind the scenes at the airport. That is why the airport is pleased to participate in Luchtvaartdag, a day in which young and old can enjoy various activities specially designed for them.
Anybody who has wanted to discover the airport area can follow an exclusive tour. You will visit places never seen by passengers or visitors, and perhaps you will pass places or companies that you never knew existed…
In addition to taking the tours, visitors can also stroll around the central hub where various airport companies or partners let you get a taste of aviation. You can, for example, get to know a C130, both outside and in, watch a demonstration by the winter operations team that keeps the runways free of snow and ice, see the fire fighters at work, follow the way cargo aircraft are loaded and unloaded, enter a simulator and drive around the tarmac and so on.
Brussels Airport Company has a stand where you can learn, in an interactive and personal way, everything there is to know about the Strategic Vision 2040, employment at the airport, how the airport manages and improves the surroundings and the environment, what cargo activities take place and how they operate and which destinations you can reach from Brussels Airport.
Photos Antwerp Airport: copyright © Ivan Coninx
Photos Brussels Airport: copyright © Maarten Van Den Driessche