Long queues at the security screening before the departure hall of Brussels Airport are “not sustainable from a commercial point of view,” says Kim Daenen, spokeswoman for Brussels Airlines.
Daenen is aware that it only concerns the first day the departure hall was again really operational, and improvements are thus expected. “We rely on dialogue with government and police”about the procedures at the airport”, says she.
Brussels Airlines is one of 25 airlines to check passengers again in the departure hall of Brussels Airport since this morning. The reopening of the departures hall resulted in long queues at the security screening, which every traveller must pass through before being able to enter the building. Several travellers missed their flight because of the chaos. Former Prime Minister Yves Leterme in particular could not take flight his after waiting for two hours. Alain Courtois, deputy mayor of the city of Brussels, has experienced the same misfortune. “The screening protects the building but not passengers,” lamented several disgruntled passengers.
Other airlines operating at the airport are still using the temporary structure built after the attacks on 22 March.
“If check-in duration is not reduced, travellers will move to other airports”
The current security measures at Brussels Airport, leading to long queues, are counterproductive. So says the trade association of travel agencies BTO. “The objective should be to be able to check in again in a maximum of two hours within a very short time, if not the number of business travellers will drop even more and they will select foreign airports“, BTO says in a press release.
BTO welcomed the partial reopening of the departure hall of the airport 40 days after the attacks of 22 March. But the fact that travellers are still asked to come to the airport three hours before the departure of their flight is “a problem“, says the trade association. “That will especially deter business travellers (which make up about 40 percent of the total) to fly, and they will choose another airport.”
The travel agencies ask the government to reconsider the safety plan so that a “normal” check-in is possible. “We must find a fair compromise between safety and comfort of travellers,” says BTO. “The length of the queues must really go down drastically.”
The police accuses: “Two open lines is insufficient”
According to Vincent Gilles, president of the police union SLFP, it is mostly at the first check of boarding passes and IDs that slows down the process, so before passage of luggage pre-clearance in tents. “There are only two lines that are open, this is not enough given the number of passengers.” Vincent Gilles accuses understaffing of the G4S security company working for Brussels Airport. “Arnaud Feist, the CEO of the airport, explained on Friday that it would open as many lines as necessary for the passenger flow. This is not the case. The airport does not put the human resources for this to happen correctly. “
An emergency meeting is scheduled between the police unions and the office of Interior Minister Jan Jambon at 14:00 this afternoon.