Brussels’ cargo operations begin to return to normal after attacks
31 / 03 / 2016
UPDATE: Air cargo operations at Brussels airport have begun to return to normal over the last couple of days after last week’s attacks that left 15 people dead.
The Belgian airport began accepting freighter flights last Wednesday, the day after suicide bombers launched an attack in the airport’s check-in area, but passenger flights are still grounded.
Brussels Airport head of cargo Steven Polmans said that cargo operations were back to normal around two days after the attacks, following the resumption of full-freighter operations.
DHL and other full-cargo operators restarted their operations at the end of last week and most operations are now more or less back to normal.
Polmans said that trucking volumes had increased because long-haul bellyhold services were still not running.
But he added that there were no backlogs on cargo, no delays getting into or leaving the cargo area, which is the other side of the airport from where the attacks took place.
In an operational update, Air Canada Cargo said it was accepting general cargo for Brussels and using trucking from Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Heathrow to route shipments to and from Brussels.
While all-cargo operations are now back up and running, Brussels Airport chief executive Arnaud Feist said it could be months before the airport is fully operational.
The airport has set up a temporary check-in area and workers began to return to work on Monday to test the provisional arrangements.
The airport will put enhanced security measures in place including further screening of baggage to take place before passengers reach the departure lounge.
It was hoped that some passenger flights would begin today (March 31) but the airport sent a tweet this morning stating that the airport would remain closed at least until the afternoon.
When the Belgian government does allow the airport to re-open it will ease back into operations, initially processing up to 1,000 passengers per hour as opposed to the airport’s average of 5,000.
*Article (originally published March 30) updated at 9.15am (GMT) March 31 to include latest information from the airport