Brussels Airport to restart soon at one fifth of capacity

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If the tests of the preliminary check-in procedure on Tuesday morning are successful, Brussels Airport will again be operational at the earliest on Wednesday, said Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport, in the first interview since the terror attacks of last Tuesday. “But the resumption of airport activities at full capacity is still some months away,” says Feist.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) the airport will test how far it is ready to operate again at a reduced rate. For that purpose, 800 volunteers from the airport personnel will be deployed, after the fire brigade has assured that the situation is safe in and around the airport. Tents are being set up for the registration, which lead to the Connector, the building between the terminal and Pier A.

A new feature is that passengers now have a security check even before they check in. That is something that the police unions had insisted on yesterday. “It is our priority to ensure at once the safety of both passengers and staff,” Feist said. Therefore only 20 percent of the passengers that have booked flights for this period can be processed in a first phase, approximately 10 to 20,000 per day.

When exactly the provisional procedure will be implemented will depend on the tests tomorrow. However, Brussels Airlines has announced that it anyway it will not fly again from Zaventem earlier than Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday, passengers will still have to rely on the regional airports, and for intercontinental flights operated by Brussels Airlines, on Zurich and Frankfurt airports.

Besides Brussels Airlines, the largest customer of the airport (with approximately 30% of the flights), it still is not clear which airlines exactly will resume first at Brussels Airport. “Probably Jetairfly and Thomas Cook Airlines will remain for some time at the regional airports,” said Feist. “But this must be negotiated with the slot coordinator, the body responsible for the allocation of time slots for landing and take-off.”

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