During renovation works at Ostend-Bruges airport, a World War II projectile was found yesterday. The Belgian Army’s demining service DOVO/SEDEE came on site today to dismantle this projectile. The airport was evacuated for several hours for security reasons. The object was found during the demolition of the current hardening of the Apron 2 aircraft parking lot. The renovation works on the apron are essential to allow the airport to grow sustainably.
Airport evacuated, but no disruption to air traffic
Yesterday, June 14, a projectile was found at the airport in the late afternoon. DOVO/SEDEE (the Explosive Device Disposal and Destruction Service) decided to dismantle the projectile on the spot. This dismantling was scheduled today. To this end, a security perimeter of 250m was established and the airport was also temporarily evacuated. No flights were planned during the decommissioning period. There was no impact on air traffic.
Renovation works are on schedule
Several ammunition parts were already found when the current hardening of the apron 2 aircraft parking lot was broken up (shells, loose detonators, parts of explosives, a hand grenade, etc.). These were always collected by DOVO. The operation of the airport was not disrupted at any time until this morning. The works are still going according to schedule.
The government and the contractor are assisted by a company specialised in detecting and clearing UXOs (UneXploded Ordnance), DOVO and law enforcement. Breaking up the current pavement (eastern part of the apron) will take a few more weeks. It is possible that more UXOs will be found in the coming weeks. The second phase of the break-up (western part of the apron) is planned for the end of 2021.
Apron 2 is the largest aircraft parking area at the airport and is used for both passenger and cargo flights. “This apron is being renovated to avoid unsafe situations for air traffic,” said Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters. “First, the entire aircraft parking lot will be broken down to foundation level. The contractor will then lay a new concrete pavement. The Flemish government acts as the principal for these works via the public company (the airport development company or “LOM”). Flanders is making 12.4 million euros available for this renovation, which will take more than a year. These works extend the life of the surface by 40 years. The operational impact on air traffic and the nuisance for the environment are limited as much as possible.
More information about the renovation works can be found here.