Belgium Sunday trying to turn the page of the attacks by reopening its high-security airport for flights three “symbolic”, but it will take many months before it can be fully operational. The departure hall of Brussels-Zaventem airport was devastated by a double suicide bombing on 22 March. An hour later, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Brussels metro. These attacks, committed just over four months after Paris by the same network linked to the organization jihadist Islamic State, resulting in 32 dead and 340 wounded.
The first start, a flight of Brussels Airlines flights to Faro, southern Portugal, is expected to 13 h 40. will follow a flight to Athens and another in Turin, Italy, “a hopeful signal that reflects our will and our strength to this ordeal and will not bend “, said the CEO of Brussels Airport, Arnaud Feist. This timid recovery, he said, “symbolizes a return to normal for our airport,” a lung of the Belgian economy that generates 20,000 jobs in 260 companies. Due to tighter controls, including cars before access to the platform, passengers are asked to arrive three hours in advance.
Drew Descheemaeker, Thomas Cook travel agent in Brussels, warned late Saturday night a family going on holiday in Faro she would finally take off from Zaventem. “Customers have seemed quite happy” because it prevents them from having to win a Belgian regional airports (Charleroi, Liège, Antwerp in particular) where flights were moved, he assured Agence France- Press. “People are eager to resume it.”
Starting Monday, the offer will be gradually expanded to include other companies that Brussels Airlines and more distant destinations. Twenty flights are scheduled Monday, including intercontinental flights, as Brussels Airlines, in which the closure of the airport has cost five million euros per day.
the damage in the departure hall, whose windows were blown out, pillars damaged and destroyed the false ceilings, require heavy restoration work. Temporary infrastructure – large white tents – was mounted in a few days outside. Some 800 passengers per hour, the equivalent of six flights can be saved, which is only 20% of reception normally airport capacity. “Our goal is to have a maximum capacity available for departures at the end of vacation June or early July,” assured Arnaud Feist.
But according to media reports, the airport will best achieve 40 % of its usual capacity this summer and should run at full speed again at the end of the year. Additional security measures were decided Friday night after an emergency government meeting with police unions, waving the threat of a strike. The drop-off area is off limits. Only passengers with a ticket and an ID can access on foot from a parking lot, the temporary registration hall, and their luggage are checked before they can enter. The airport is not served by public transport, only by private cars or taxis.
Suspects still at large
The Metro in the Belgian capital soon reopened after the attacks, although many stations not served and that traffic is discontinued at 19 hours. And despite the tense events Saturday, life resumed its rights, even if the police still seek “actively” fleeing suspects, including “the man in the hat” preview video surveillance images of the airport who abandoned a suitcase full of explosives into the departure hall.
Salah Abdeslam, the only survivor of jihadist commando that hit Paris and Saint-Denis November 13, 2015, denied any involvement in the attacks of 22 March. Arrested on 18 March in Brussels and imprisoned in Bruges (northwest), the French Belgian awaiting extradition to France.