Brussels airport is all set to reopen on Sunday as the news circling deal between police and Belgian government broke out. The airport shut down its services after being hit in 22 March suicide bombings at airport and metro station, claiming 34 lives. A tweet from official account of Brussels airport informed about the decision.
Police union leaders and Belgian government went through round of talks over security concerns which had delayed the early opening of the airport. Earlier an official statement from Brussels airport on 31 March said, “No flights till 1 April included. Awaiting decision authorities on final date for restart. We are operationally ready to resume flights.” On early morning (Sunday), airport broke out the news that the police union and government have reached onto a decision.
Decision reached: we’re now looking into when #brusselsairport will partially resume passenger flights.
— Brussels Airport (@BrusselsAirport) 1 April 2016
While airport authorities had earlier expressed their willingness to reopen its services, airport police threatened to go on strike amidst poor security measures. The police demanded tighter screening of passengers and baggage for which they suggested to check passengers outside the newly constructed departure zone. But the airport authorities thrashed their opinion stating the immaturity in the plan. They claimed that it would simply shift the security threat from inside to outside the area. They also mentioned that this would create long queues creating discomfort to the passengers.
Jan Adam, leader of the ACV Politie union said, “We have reached agreement with the prime minister and the interior minister. I envisage that the airport would reopen on Sunday.” The police have also called for metal detectors, body scanners and x-ray machines to screen people outside the building. Passengers and luggage would be systematically checked, a police official said.
Brussels airport is among one of the largest airports across Europe and accounts for handling over 23 million passengers annually. The closure of airport had raised economic concerns too. Belgium’s largest online carrier Brussels airlines had estimated that the closure of Brussels airport is costing it 5 million euros per day. The condition is no different with the hotels in the city. The city’s association of hotel operators had claimed that the closure of airport accounted for more than 50 percent drop in overnight stays.
The airport would initially run at only 20 percent capacity, facilitating 800 passengers departing per hour and would resume full operations in upcoming months.