According to Raphaël Meulders in La Libre Belgique, work is progressing faster than expected at Brussels Airport. The departure hall which heavily damaged by the bombings of 22 March could reopen to passenger traffic next Monday, May 2.
Some companies operating at the airport have registered this May 2 as the date to resume operations via the departure hall. “We cannot confirm this date“, says Florence Muls, spokesman for Brussels Airport. “But we are on track to be ready for resumption of operations.”
In fact, the airport expects several green lights to reopen including one in particular from police and DGAT, the Directorate General of Air Transport. Brussels Airport has also planned private visits of the place by the families of victims of the attacks before resuming operations.
The personnel of the airport can visit the site for three days, from today Wednesday through Friday. Many of these people are said to be heavily affected by the attacks and such a visit should help healing them.
A baggage check before entry
As for airlines, they already made the first accounts. According to the information received by La Libre Belgique, Brussels Airlines would have lost nearly 100,000 passengers compared to last year for the period from March 22 to 30.
However, if the departure hall is about to reopen, passengers should expect several changes compared to the period before the attacks. They will thus first go to a prefabricated building to check their luggage before entering the departure hall. Passengers coming by train to the airport also have to go through the parking elevators to reach the terminal. The place called “Diamond”, with escalators leading from the station to the departure hall, remains inaccessible. The old terminal used by Jetairfly and Thomas Cook, where the first bomb exploded, will also remain closed. The airport will thus not yet be 100% operational, probably until the end of June
In total, one hundred check-in counters will be available instead of the usual 188. That means that the temporary installation next to the bus station will continue operating in parallel with the departure hall.
The pharmacy and various shops affected by the attacks will reopen. The Starbucks café that completely destroyed by the second bomb will be rebuilt in the same place with a new look. The “Candy Store” will move near the Exki restaurant.