Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

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Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by sn26567 » 24 Mar 2015, 23:37

Hundreds of guests this evening at the inauguration of the "Connector", the new building between the departure hall and Pier A. Besides His Majesty King Philip of Belgium, I recognised Prime Minister Charles Michel, Federal Ministers De Croo and Galant, Minister President of the Brussels Region Vervoort, Secretary of State Francken, Flemish Parliament President Peumans, the mayors of Zaventem and Steenokkerzeel (the connector is on both communes) Charleroi Airport CEO Cloquet, financial magnate Baron Albert Frère (his company owns the tax free shops) and many others.

As soon as I entered into the airport, a large screen was displaying the new Connector.
Already when arriving at the airport, the Connector is advertised on the giant publicity screens
Already when arriving at the airport, the Connector is advertised on the giant publicity screens
Instead of turning right to take the stairs to the former tunnel, I continued straight ahead to the Connector. And immediately there is the ticket control to let you in and the 25 brand new hand baggage screening lanes.
Ticket control at the entrance of the Connector
Ticket control at the entrance of the Connector
Twenty-five hand baggage screening lanes
Twenty-five hand baggage screening lanes
... and they were in function for screening all the guests of the inauguration
... and they were in function for screening all the guests of the inauguration
First drink for the guests immediately after screening
First drink for the guests immediately after screening
The new departure screens were already functioning
The new departure screens were already functioning
A nice memory of the first airport of Brussels in Haren
A nice memory of the first airport of Brussels in Haren
The guests were already busy drinking a welcome cocktail.
Among the guests, Minister of Mobility Jacqueline Galant discussing with Charleroi Airport CEO Jean-Jacques Cloquet
Among the guests, Minister of Mobility Jacqueline Galant discussing with Charleroi Airport CEO Jean-Jacques Cloquet
Charleroi Airport CEO Jean-Jacques Cloquet had some health problems but was happy to wish success to Brussels Airport
Charleroi Airport CEO Jean-Jacques Cloquet had some health problems but was happy to wish success to Brussels Airport
Left, Albert Frère (who owns the Tax Free Shops of Brussels Airport)
Left, Albert Frère (who owns the Tax Free Shops of Brussels Airport)
And soon the arrival of His Majesty King Philip of Belgium was announced and shown with beamers on the curtains hiding the interior the new building.
Beamers on the curtains showing the arrival of the Royal motorcade on the tarmac
Beamers on the curtains showing the arrival of the Royal motorcade on the tarmac
The arrival of H. M. the King
The arrival of H. M. the King
The Ministers waiting to welcome the King
The Ministers waiting to welcome the King
The Prime Minister salutes King Philip
The Prime Minister salutes King Philip
And finally the King enters into the building, still hidden by curtains.
H. M. the King enters into the hall hidden by provisional curtains
H. M. the King enters into the hall hidden by provisional curtains
H. M. King Philip is welcomed by Brussels Airport CEO Arnaud Feist
H. M. King Philip is welcomed by Brussels Airport CEO Arnaud Feist
Time for the speeches. Each one of the speakers asked to remember the 150 victims of the crash of the Germainwings Airbus A320 that occurred the same morning. A minute of silence was observed.
Introduction of the speakers by a spokeswoman for Brussels Airport
Introduction of the speakers by a spokeswoman for Brussels Airport
Speech of Marc Descheemaeker, President of Brussels Airport
Speech of Marc Descheemaeker, President of Brussels Airport
King Philip and Arnaud Feist during the speech of Marc Descheemaeker
King Philip and Arnaud Feist during the speech of Marc Descheemaeker
Speech of Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport
Speech of Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport
Speech of Prime Minister Charles Michel
Speech of Prime Minister Charles Michel
The King, the President and the CEO of Brussels Airport pressed a button to start the inauguration show.
An aerial show by acrobats to celebrate the inauguration
An aerial show by acrobats to celebrate the inauguration
IMG_9105.JPG
... and then the curtains fell, revealing the new shopping area of the Connector
... and then the curtains fell, revealing the new shopping area of the Connector
Royal visit to the new premises and reception
After the Tintin submarine on a Brussels Airlines plane, the Tintin rocket to the Moon
After the Tintin submarine on a Brussels Airlines plane, the Tintin rocket to the Moon
King Philip and Baron Albert Frère
King Philip and Baron Albert Frère
Chocolate tasting
Chocolate tasting
Chocolate tasting
Chocolate tasting
Musical entertainment during the reception
Musical entertainment during the reception
King Philip with Minister Alexander De Croo
King Philip with Minister Alexander De Croo
The people of Moulinsart in front of the Tintin rocket
The people of Moulinsart in front of the Tintin rocket
The Connector promises to offer nice views on the tarmac
Nice view of the tarmac from the Connector
Nice view of the tarmac from the Connector
Opening to travellers Thursday morning at three in the morning! They will enjoy a lot of very nice shops and restaurants.

Copyright (text and photographs) André Orban
André
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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by Homo Aeroportus » 24 Mar 2015, 23:56

Thank you André for this very nice report.

The Connector really looks nice and airy. Looking forward to this experience but I have no flight before next Tuesday so I'll wait until then.

The row of screening machines seems impressive and should be efficient if staffed in numbers, but are there any body scanner? This is really the way to go in order to speed up the process.

Again thank you. (I knew it was to be an important event ;) ).

H.A.

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by convair » 25 Mar 2015, 09:40

I hope there is an easy shortcut or bypass for people who are not interested in or have no time for shopping!

I do some shopping there too occasionally but I find it outrageous that everyone now MUST walk through the shopping area in terminal B, even before the security control. The place looks more and more like a shopping mall where you also have the possibility to eventually board a plane!!!

Consume, consume, consume... is now the leitmotiv!

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by DannyVDB » 25 Mar 2015, 12:28

Thanks André!

Does anyone know if there exists a detailed floorplan of how the different parts (screening part, shoping part, ...) are situated. I have difficulties in imagining how it works. Especially the fact that in one year time also the people of pier B will go through the same area and further to pier B. Does that mean they will first enter the connector and then go back?

Any explanation/insight is very welcome ...

Regards

PS: my testing will be in 2 weeks time when leaving on Thomas Cook for Madeira :D

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by sn26567 » 25 Mar 2015, 13:23

A map of the Connector is available as a PDF, but the file is too big to be published here. I can send it to anyone who will request it by PM (please give your email address).

It is indeed necessary to walk through part of the shopping area to access the A Pier, but it is rather direct.
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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by Tomskii » 25 Mar 2015, 13:37

convair wrote:I hope there is an easy shortcut or bypass for people who are not interested in or have no time for shopping!

I do some shopping there too occasionally but I find it outrageous that everyone now MUST walk through the shopping area in terminal B, even before the security control. The place looks more and more like a shopping mall where you also have the possibility to eventually board a plane!!!

Consume, consume, consume... is now the leitmotiv!
Well I don't mind walking through these shopping area's as long as I'm not obliged to go through a shop like a lot of smaller airports do. Here you just have the main hall and if you don't want to enter a shop you don't do it. Same system as Terminal A.

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by convair » 25 Mar 2015, 13:53

That's more acceptable then. Is the shopping area located before or after the security check? When you use pier B, you currently have both.

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by sn26567 » 25 Mar 2015, 14:28

First the ticket control, then the security check, and finally the nice shopping area with no obligation to go into a shop (and the Tintin rocket to the Moon).

A few additional pictures that I did not put in the initial report:
IMG_9120.JPG
IMG_9121.JPG
IMG_9139.JPG
IMG_9140.JPG
IMG_9142.JPG
André
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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by b-west » 25 Mar 2015, 17:12

Those pics do confirm my initial idea that this whole connector is basically a new shopping mall. True, there'll be fewer escalators for passengers to take, and the gloomy tunnel is gone, but the whole "reduce waiting times at security" doesn't depend on the number of available security lines, but rather on the fact if these lines are manned or not. And too often I have seen long long queues at Brussels with only 2 or 3 security lines open. Fact is that this airport is obsessed in spending vast amounts of money on branding, on a shopping mall and other questionable infrastructure projects, while at the same time they're squeezing every penny on labour costs, leading, amongst other things, to long queues at understaffed security and filthy toilets.

Ofcourse the argument will be that those people aren't employed by Brussels Airport, but rather subcontracted. But it's the airports fault in getting the cheapest possible contract for those services that leads to these lower staff levels.

Another fine example is what they did to the arrivals area. The plan was to remove the security agent there (less people to pay!) and replace him/her by automatic doors and a new staff & lost property entrance next to Quick. So an investment was made into doing up a new hallway, adding motion activated doors and what more. Afterall, this airport loves spending money on infrastructure, as long as it doesn't have to pay people. And what has this resulted in? In short: less service to the passengers. As the security agent used to be there clock round, there was always someone the passengers could talk to and find out how to get their belongings back. Now they can only get to the lost luggage area during office hours, with most of them having trouble finding the entrance to it, let alone figuring out how to get a ticket to be allowed in. So what do these passengers, understandably, do? They go to the most logical place, being where they came out of the luggage hall, they ignore the no entry sign and walk through the gates, leading to an alarm to go off and the doors being shut. The situation has gotten so bad that the security agent is back at the doors (there goes the money saving), but now can't help people anymore but just has to tell them to get lost. So Brussels Airport can spin their 'look at us, we love passengers' crap as much as they want, bottom line is they only want you to go to the shops and be as less of a nuisance aside from that.

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by White Light » 25 Mar 2015, 17:18

I fully agree with everything (in particular the smoke filled filthy toilets :evil: )

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by lumumba » 25 Mar 2015, 18:28

b-west wrote:Those pics do confirm my initial idea that this whole connector is basically a new shopping mall. True, there'll be fewer escalators for passengers to take, and the gloomy tunnel is gone, but the whole "reduce waiting times at security" doesn't depend on the number of available security lines, but rather on the fact if these lines are manned or not. And too often I have seen long long queues at Brussels with only 2 or 3 security lines open. Fact is that this airport is obsessed in spending vast amounts of money on branding, on a shopping mall and other questionable infrastructure projects, while at the same time they're squeezing every penny on labour costs, leading, amongst other things, to long queues at understaffed security and filthy toilets.

Ofcourse the argument will be that those people aren't employed by Brussels Airport, but rather subcontracted. But it's the airports fault in getting the cheapest possible contract for those services that leads to these lower staff levels.

Another fine example is what they did to the arrivals area. The plan was to remove the security agent there (less people to pay!) and replace him/her by automatic doors and a new staff & lost property entrance next to Quick. So an investment was made into doing up a new hallway, adding motion activated doors and what more. Afterall, this airport loves spending money on infrastructure, as long as it doesn't have to pay people. And what has this resulted in? In short: less service to the passengers. As the security agent used to be there clock round, there was always someone the passengers could talk to and find out how to get their belongings back. Now they can only get to the lost luggage area during office hours, with most of them having trouble finding the entrance to it, let alone figuring out how to get a ticket to be allowed in. So what do these passengers, understandably, do? They go to the most logical place, being where they came out of the luggage hall, they ignore the no entry sign and walk through the gates, leading to an alarm to go off and the doors being shut. The situation has gotten so bad that the security agent is back at the doors (there goes the money saving), but now can't help people anymore but just has to tell them to get lost. So Brussels Airport can spin their 'look at us, we love passengers' crap as much as they want, bottom line is they only want you to go to the shops and be as less of a nuisance aside from that.
Nothing new here it's a Liberal world where BRU has to compete with other airports.
And try to make the more money has possible....
Hasta la victoria siempre.

b-west

Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by b-west » 25 Mar 2015, 19:37

I have no problem with earning money. Quite the contrary. I do mind mediocre service and smelly toilets being sold of as a high quality product

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by jrmBRU » 25 Mar 2015, 20:01

What will they do with the shops on level 0 in the A terminal, will those disappear?

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by DannyVDB » 26 Mar 2015, 09:03

Hi all,

I have yet another question.

I see many ticket control entrance points, which is very good.

Is it also foreseen to have a 'regular' ticket control (by human beings)?

I have noticed often that many people have problems to use the automatic ticket control facilities (especially [older] people that do not travel that much). They often block smooth flow of pax. It is not a criticism towards them, but I think you always need also some assistance ...

Regards,
Danny

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by Flanker2 » 26 Mar 2015, 09:21

DannyVDB is right. I have expressed this concern recently as well.

But I have tougher questions to answer and they're the same as July 1st 2013:
That being said, I don't think that the shops will be empty in the beginning, I think that it's just a lost opportunity to add gate space, instead of extending terminal A to the West. They could have added both shops and gates there, instead of only adding shops.

My question is thus: is it really worth investing more than 70 million euro's for a blunt corridor with shops? How long will it take to break-even? Will people still be able to use the walkways or will they have to walk through all the length of the corridor? Are they going to make elderly people walk too?
https://www.aviation24.be/forums/viewtopic ... 2&start=40

They could have added 3 "premium gates" there on each side, 6 in total, decreasing the average walking distance for all terminal A passengers. Instead of a connector, terminal A would have started soon after the security check. This would have allowed to extend Terminal T into terminal A as well, as SN will need this additional gate capacity in the future.

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by flightlover » 26 Mar 2015, 13:14

Adding gates would have meant that Swissport would have had to find a diferent area to park busses and other GSE. And also would have meant a verry long taxi time.

Adding gates to the other side (in the corridor formed by T A and T B) would have meant a long push/tow procedure blocking any other activity on gotes 141 to 145 at least for terminal A.

So any advantage would be lost in the process.

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by sn26567 » 26 Mar 2015, 13:23

DannyVDB wrote:Is it also foreseen to have a 'regular' ticket control (by human beings)?
There is always a human presence at these gates, either to help with electronic tickets or QR codes, or to allow passengers to go through another way.
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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by crew1990 » 28 Mar 2015, 11:35

I just had a look to the connector today, it's beautiful, modern, but I haven't been amazed, I was expecting at least a restaurant or something with a view on the tarmac ans more shops.

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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by sn26567 » 28 Mar 2015, 16:49

The restaurant "Black Pearls" has a beautiful view on the tarmac!
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Re: Inauguration of the "Connector" at Brussels Airport

Post by Lysexpat » 30 Mar 2015, 15:54

I used the connector twice now and whillst it offers great views and some beautiful shops the overall experience is negative.
Queues at security were longer than before due to the fact that the conveyor belts which lead to the X-ray machines are shorter than before. Only one person at the time can prepare his stuff.
One has to walk through the duty free shop where people looking at the products creatie another queue.
It now takes significantly longer from gate to exit or entrance to gate.
The connector is purely commercial and should not be sold (pun intended) as a "major improvement to the infrastructure of the airport"

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