Brussels Airport to Partially Reopen on Friday

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -
Damage is seen inside the departure terminal following the March 22, 2016 bombing at Zaventem Airport, in these undated photos made available to Reuters by the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, in Brussels, Belgium, March 29, 2016. Het Nieuwsblad via REUTERSATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED BY REUTERS AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. BELGIUM OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN BELGIUM. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Damage is seen inside the departure terminal following the bombing at Zaventem Airport, Brussels, Belgium, last Tuesday. (Het Nieuwsblad via Reuters)

The Brussels airport will partially reopen for passenger flights on Friday evening after its closure following the March 22 terror attacks, the company running the airport said.

Belgian police, the fire brigade and the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority have been checking the airport, whose departure hall was badly damaged by the two blasts, to see if it was ready to resume service.

“The airport is … technically ready for a restart of passenger flights in the temporary infrastructure foreseen for check-in,” the Brussels Airport Company said in a statement.

The provisional arrangement will allow the airport to receive 800 departing passengers per hour, or 2.5 million departing passengers a year, which is 20 percent of the normal capacity of the airport.

Arriving passengers will go through the usual baggage reclaim and arrivals areas in the terminal. This zone was only slightly damaged and has since been restored for use.

“The final step for the restart is the formal political approval. In the meantime, it has been decided that there will be no passenger flights until Friday evening,” the statement said.

The Brussels airport is one of the largest airports in Europe, handling 23.5 million passengers and 489,000 tons of freight annually. It links the Belgian capital with 226 destinations worldwide that are served by 77 different airlines.