Twelve days after a suicide bombing that killed 16 people, Zaventem international airport in Brussels has reopened and resumed a very limited number of flights amid very tight security. The first flight left at 11:40 GMT for Faro, Portugal. Two others were scheduled to fly to Turin, Italy and Athens, Greece. The airport staff gathered to watch the first flight take off as it was a tremendously symbolic moment.
“These flights are the first hopeful sign from an airport that is standing up straight after a cowardly attack,” said airport chief executive Arnaud Feist, “I personally promise that Brussels Airport will do everything in its power to increase as quickly as possible the capacity of our airport and to quickly grow the economic activities of our airport,”
Temporary structures are currently being used to facilitate flights while the damage from the bomb blasts is repaired. The airport is hoping to work its way up to 800 departing passengers per hour with the temporary structures. That would still only put the airport at 20 percent of its normal capacity. Additional flights to cities including New York, Geneva, Berlin, Paris and Manchester are scheduled to fly out of the airport on Monday. The airport hopes to be fully operational again in time for the summer holidays.
Extra security measures have been put in place to protect the Zaventem from further attacks. The airport is no longer accessible via public transportation and there are currently no plans to change that. Passengers were screened on the road approaching the airport and again as they checked in. Police officers and soldiers will be patrolling the building.