The first flight in 12 days from Brussels Airport was referred as ‘symbolic passenger flight’ by Airport chief executive officer Arnaud Feist. Though the first operational day (since the bomb blast) marked presence of only three flights scheduled to fly from Brussels Airport on Sunday, it reflects much about the hope, the hope that terror cannot diminish positivity. “These flights are the first hopeful sign from an airport that is standing up straight after a cowardly attack,” Arnaud Feist said.
— Brussels Airport (@BrusselsAirport) 3 April 2016
Brussels Airlines Flight number SN1901 departed from Brussels airport to Faro, Portugal on Sunday afternoon with only around 60-70 passengers. Another flight SN1545 departed to Athens at 15.52 (Belgium time). Third and last flight of the day departed from Brussels airport to Turin later at 18.28 hours. Being the native airlines, Brussels Airlines is operating all the flights. Three return flights are also expected in the evening.
Additional flights will take off from Monday, though, it is expected that the airport will run at 20 percent capacity for upcoming few months. On 22 March, two suicide bombers blew themselves in the departure zone, damaging the airport premises very badly and thus forcing it to shut down for 12 days. There were clouds over reopening of the airport when police officials demanded to improve the security, the issue was resolved after several rounds of talks.
Police conducted spot checks of vehicles before their arrivals inside the airport. A large white tent was set up outside the terminal to screen travelers’ IDs, travel documents and bags before they were allowed to enter the building. The airport had also issued guideline for all passengers to come in cars, as the bus and train service to airport is yet to start. Airport authorities have also started renovation work and the airport is expected to perform with its full capacity before the start of summer holidays.
The environment became emotional as the airport reopened its premises for passengers. Airport staff and government officials held a minute’s silence and then applauded for the courage they have shown.
Prior to start of the journey, passengers went through rounds of security checks, starting from the screening at the entrance to the usual security checks inside the airport. Brussels airport had already informed all passengers to reach at least three hours before the departure time.