Today Brussels Airport Company, in the presence of His Majesty the King, officially opened the Connector building. Brussels Airport built Connector, a 75 million-euro investment, to increase passenger comfort. The building links the terminal above-ground to the two piers so passengers need less time to go from the check-in to their boarding gate. Henceforth, passengers can wait to board their plane in an open and airy building that besides a spectacular tarmac view offers a contemporary mix of shops and restaurants. Connector will be open to the passengers as of Thursday 26 March.
Four years after project was launched and two years after the start of the construction works, Connector – the new beating heart of the airport – opens its doors. Connector is the most important investment at the airport since the construction of Pier A in 2002.
“Connector is the emblem of the strategy we adopted in 2012 and which places the passenger at the centre of everything we do. Because the first and foremost purpose of Connector is to further improve the quality of the airport infrastructure for our passengers and airlines”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.
This 75 million-euro investment is part of a vast investment program until 2015 of 1 billion euros of own funds which is to allow the airport to strengthen its competitive position whilst improving the infrastructure and customer service at the airport.
Better service and increased comfort
Connector links the terminal above-ground to the piers and is built to meet the expectations of our passengers and partners in terms of comfort, accessibility and travel experience. With Connector Brussels Airport intends to offer its passengers a better service and an entirely new airport experience. The itinerary from check-in to their gate in Pier A is now totally different. Passengers who depart from gates B will start using Connector as from early next year.
Due to Connector, passengers will easily win 5 to 10 minutes to get to their boarding gate from check-in. No more need to descend below tarmac level and more importantly, no more need to take the long, dark tunnel. The passenger stays above-ground in an open and airy building where they enjoy a magnificent view or the tarmac.
Connector will offer passengers a unique start or continuation of their trip or a warm welcome home by paying particular attention to the assets and specialties of our country, ranging from beer and chocolate to Belgian fashion and dishes.
“We are also very happy to welcome a Belgian icon with international fame: Tintin’s space rocket. This rocket is a symbol of all the adventures and travels Tintin undertook. The rocket is made to size with the help of Moulinsart and will bring back memories to our passengers of their youth”, says Arnaud Feist.
Contemporary, clever design
Putting up a building at the heart of a busy airport was not an easy feat. During its construction we had to take account of the existing tunnel which had to remain fully operational at all times.
The façades on the east and west side had to slope slightly outwards so as not to reflect radar beams from Belgocontrol or radio navigation signals from aircraft. Moreover the construction had to be jet blast resistant.
When designing the building the architects chose to use as much glass as possible to allow natural light to flood in and give passengers the opportunity to enjoy the activities on the tarmac.
From screening to shopping
After passing through the automated access control, the passengers immediately arrive at the screening platform. With 25 screening lanes, this innovative platform is the biggest in Europe. Moreover, it uses remote screening. The security agents who view the x-ray images are no longer sitting next to the lane but in a separate control room which allows them to better concentrate.
Once through screening, the passengers arrive in the entirely new shopping area. A wide boulevard will lead them through a large walk-through shop with numerous stands on either side. Here, passengers will find a nice selection of perfumes, cosmetics, spirits and chocolate. Other shops in Connector carry the latest fashion, jewellery and watches. The new restaurants and bars in Connector not only serve delicious dishes and drinks. Visitors will also enjoy the spectacular view of the tarmac.
A commitment to sustainability
With the construction of Connector, Brussels Airport Company remained true to its commitment to cut down its energy consumption. Connector uses seasonal thermal energy storage for cooling and heating purposes. STES covers about 70% of the energy needed to heat the building, and about 30% of the energy needed for cooling it.
The east and west façades feature sun screens and solar fins to prevent the sun from overheating the interior of the building. Moreover, with a K-value of 20 Connector is very well insulated. A low-energy building has a K-value of maximum 30 whereas a passive house has a K-value of 15. With a K-value of 20 Connector is pretty close to being a passive building. Not bad for a public building with that many glass panes.
Facts & Figures
Connector is located on the territory of both Zaventem and Steenokkerzeel. The municipal border runs through the building.
The building makes maximum use of LED lighting to reduce the electricity consumption.
400 well-spaced loudspeakers with adjusted sound volume ensure that messages are easily understood without being a nuisance to the passengers.
The building has an insulation value of K20, whereas the legal standard is K40.
STES technology covers 70% of heating needs and 30% of cooling needs.
The rainwater from Connector’s roof is collected in a reservoir with a capacity of 670,000 litres, the annual water consumption of 98 households.
Brussels Airport, 24 March 2015