Sunday 17 December 2017

Brussels Airport departure hall is reopened

Brussels Airport
Brussels Airport

Michael Silke

Brussels Airport reopened its departure hall yesterday for the first time since deadly Islamic extremist attacks in March.   

The airport – which has increased its security measures – had already resumed some flights, but passengers had been using a temporary check-in tent because of extensive damage to the departure hall from the twin suicide bombings that killed 16 people.

Passengers on selected flights started using the newly repaired departure hall yesterday after a special ceremony presided over by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

Passengers will undergo extra security checks before entering the terminal.

“We all choose to resist. Today, our capital’s airport is reopening. Brussels is back in business,” Michel told a crowd gathered near a plaque bearing the names of victims of the attack, surrounded by photos and flowers. Some passengers lamented the tense atmosphere at a place that they used to associate with going on holidays. Check-in clerk Veronique Goodman described her emotion at the re-opening, “for the people who lost their family, injured colleagues... nobody wants this ever to happen again. But [we’re] happy to be back with our colleagues.”

In a statement, Brussels Airport Company CEO Arnaud Feist called it “an important day” in the recovery of the airport and in efforts to revive the city’s image. Feist said he hoped the airport would be back at 100pc capacity by mid-June.

The March 22 attacks at the airport and at a Metro station killed 32 people overall.

Irish Independent

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