Security measures stepped up following attacks with claimed 35 lives
Brussels airport partially reopened Sunday, April 3, 12 days after its departure hall was destroyed by suicide bombers. The country's main airport has not handled passenger flights since two suspected Islamist militants carried out the attacks.
Those bombs and a separate one on a metro train in the city killed 35 people, including the bombers. The airport's chief says the reopning is a boost for everyone.
Arnaud Feist, Brussels airport chief executive: "A restart of the operations, even only partially, as quick as this is a sign of hope that shows our shared will, and our strength to resurface and not to let our heads down."
The airport has built a temporary check-in zone as part of increased security measures. Federal police, whose officers work in the airport, wanted passengers to be checked outside the new departure zone. But the airport authorities said this would mean passengers waiting too long. They argued it would simply shift the security threat from inside to outside the area. A compromise has been found, a spokesman for the federal police gives details of the new regime.
Michael Jonniaux, Federal police spokesman: "Before entering the airport building, an initial check will be carried out, a systematic pre-check of all people trying to enter the airport. We're going to check their travel documents, their I.D. documents and make a comparison obviously between the two. We're also going to give them a security gate check and a baggage check."
The partial reopening of the airport came just a day after police arrested a number of right-wing protesters in the Brussels district of Molenbeek. The area is a largely Muslim neighbourhood which was home to several people involved in the November 2015 Paris terror attacks. A far-right group had planned to hold a demonstration there with an anti-racist group planning a counter-march. Both actions were banned by the local authorities. The terror threat level in Belgium remains at 3 - one below its maximum.