Monday, March 28, 2016

Brussels Airport preparing for partial restart of passenger operations

Date of resumption still uncertain


Officials at Brussels Airport (BRU), which was heavily damaged by two terrorist bombs on March 22, are preparing for a partial reopening but are still unable to say precisely when that reopening might take place.

“In the past few days, Brussels Airport has made an extensive analysis of the terminal infrastructure and of the various possible scenarios for a partial recommencement of its activities,” officials said in a communiqué issued late on Sunday, March 27. “When this partial restart will take place … depends on the various processes that have to be restarted. The simple fact is that a restart in the short term is not possible in the devastated infrastructure. “

Airport officials began erecting temporary constructions on Thursday, including additional security measures that are being implemented at all Belgian airports on the orders of the government.

In preparation for its eventual reopening, airport officials have arranged for departing passengers to us temporary passageways to the ground-floor zone of the airport connector. That areas will house temporary check-in desks where passengers can report for their flight as well as check their luggage.

After check-in, passengers will follow a route that will use the service stairway to the existing screening platform in connector, which escaped the blasts undamaged. The passenger and hand-luggage checks will also take place in that area and from there the passengers will follow the normal route to their departure areas, airport officials said. For arriving passengers, officials are considering a solution to take them by bus via a hangar.

Overall, the temporary plans must meet three criteria. The temporary constructions must satisfy all construction and fire safety regulations, the various passengers flows must be tested in real time to ensure that everything runs smoothly, and government authorities must give their approval to the security system that is being implemented>

The construction and fire safety inspection of the temporary constructions will take place on Tuesday, March 29. That same day, airport officials will also conduct a major test of the temporary passenger flows, using 800 airport staff members to test the temporary arrangement and infrastructure for the check-in procedure. The test will be developed in consultation with the various airport partners, the Federal Police, Defense, and the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA), BRU officials reported.

Once the test is completed, officials may be able to provide as estimated date for the facility’s reopening.

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