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Luchthaven Brussel-Nationaal (Dutch)
Aéroport de Bruxelles-National (French)
|IATA: BRU – ICAO: EBBR|
|Airport type||Public & Military|
|Operator||Brussels Airport Company|
|Location||Zaventem, Machelen and Steenokkerzeel|
|Elevation AMSL||184 ft / 56 m|
Brussels Airport (IATA: BRU, ICAO: EBBR) (also called Brussel Nationaal/Bruxelles-National/Brussel-Zaventem (Brussels National)) is an international airport 6 NM (11 km; 6.9 mi) northeast of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. In 2014, almost 22 million passengers arrived or departed at Brussels Airport, making it the 23rd busiest airport in Europe. It is located partially in Zaventem, partially in the Diegem area of Machelen, and partially in Steenokkerzeel, in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is home to around 260 companies, together directly employing 20,000 people and serves as the home base for Brussels Airlines, Jetairfly and Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium.
The company operating the airport is known as "The Brussels Airport Company N.V./S.A."; before 19 October 2006, the name was BIAC (Brussels International Airport Company), which was created by Belgian law through a merger of BATC with the ground operations departments of the RLW/RVA. Since 2011, the airport is owned by the Toronto-based Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (39%), Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund I and Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund III (36%) and the Belgian State (25%).
- 1 History
- 2 Facilities
- 3 Services
- 4 Airlines and destinations
- 5 Statistics
- 6 Other facilities
- 7 Ground transportation
- 8 Incidents and accidents
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The origins of Brussels Airport at Zaventem date back to 1940, when the German occupying force claimed 600 ha (1,500 acres) of agricultural fields reserved as a back-up airfield ("Steenokkerzeel"). There the Luftwaffe established Fliegerhorst Melsbroek and constructed 3 runways in the shape of a triangle: runway 02/20, runway 07L/25R (both of which are still in use today) and runway 12/30. The airport buildings were constructed in the nearby municipality of Melsbroek and not of Zaventem, which is why the airfield was known to the locals as Melsbroek( in Dutch) (or "Fliegerhorst Melsbroek" in German). There is an urban legend that the site of the airport was chosen by the Germans after asking locals where to build it – the Belgians then pointed to this location as it was often foggy.
After the liberation on 3 September 1944, the German infrastructure at Melsbroek fell into the hands of the British. When the old civilian airport in Haren became too small, the Belgian authorities decided to use the aerodrome at Melsbroek for the new national airport. By 1948, a new terminal building was constructed to replace the old wooden building. In the same year, the lengths of both runways 02/20 and 07L/25R were increased, to 1,200 m (3,900 ft) and 2,450 m (8,040 ft) respectively, whereas 12/30 remained at 1,300 m (4,300 ft). The civil aerodrome of Melsbroek was officially opened by Prince Charles, Count of Flanders, the Prince Regent, on 20 July 1948. From 1948 to 1956 many more buildings and facilities were erected, mostly on the Melsbroek side of the site.
In 1955, a railway line from Brussels city centre to the airport was constructed. The line was officially opened by King Baudouin on 15 May 1955.
In 1956 a new 2,300 m (7,500 ft) runway was constructed, 07R/25L, which runs parallel with 07L/25R. The runway is still in use today and saw its length later increased to 3,200 m (10,500 ft). In April 1956 the Belgian government decided to build a new airport, using the same runways, but with the buildings located within the municipality of Zaventem. In April 1957, construction started of the new terminal, preparing the airport for the 1958 World Fair. The grass runway 12/30 had to make way to allow for the new passenger terminal. This new airport was inaugurated 5 July 1958, almost just in time for the 1958 World Fair. The buildings on the Melsbroek side are still in use by the Belgian Air Force (15th Air Transport Wing), and this is still known as Melsbroek airfield. Both Zaventem Airport and Melsbroek Air Base, the military airfield, share the same runways.
Development since the 1960s
During the boom of commercial aviation in the 1960s and 1970s, several hangars were constructed. A new cargo terminal was constructed in 1976. In 1994, a brand new terminal was constructed adjacent to the old 1958 building. Two old piers were torn down and replaced by modern ones. In 2002, amidst the turmoil surrounding the demise of the national airline Sabena, a new pier was opened.
In 2005, the airport was awarded Best Airport in Europe by Airports Council International/International Air Transport Association (ACI/IATA), based on a survey of over 100,000 passengers worldwide. Brussels Airport continued to appear in top airports lists as of 2012. A direct train link with Leuven and Liège was opened on 12 December 2005.
In 2007, the airport served 17.8 million passengers, an increase of 7% over 2006. The cargo volume in the same year amounted to 780,000 tonnes, an increase of 8.9% over 2006. In 2008, the airport served 18.5 million passengers, which was an increase of 3.7% over the previous year.
Sabena's demise meant a sharp fall in passenger traffic, a blow from which the airport only slowly recovered. The airport's future is threatened by disagreement between the governments of Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region concerning night-time air traffic routes.
In March 2009, the old mechanical Flight information display systems were replaced by electronic ones. In September 2009, CEO Wilfried Van Assche resigned. One of the (unofficial) reasons was the delay in the construction of the low-cost terminal and the possible lawsuit by 52 airlines active at Brussels Airport, on the grounds of tax discrimination. It was Van Assche who started expanding the Long-Haul network (Jet Airways, Hainan Airlines, Etihad Airways, US Airways) at Brussels Airport. In February 2010 Arnaud Feist was appointed CEO. The company president is Luc Van den Bossche (former Belgian government minister).
On 18 February 2013, in the 2013 Belgium diamond heist, eight men armed with automatic weapons and dressed in police uniforms seized 120 small parcels containing an estimated US$50 million worth of diamonds from a Helvetic Airways Fokker 100 passenger plane loaded with passengers preparing for departure to Zürich. The men drove two vehicles through a hole they had cut in the airport perimeter fence to Flight LX789, which had just been loaded with diamonds from a Brink's armored van from Antwerp. They carried out the operation within five minutes with no injuries and without firing a shot.
According to this non-official study, Brussels Airport is the most noise-polluting airport of 30 European airports in terms of the noise levels created and the number of people affected by take-off and landing operations.
Brussels Airport uses a one terminal concept, meaning that all the facilities are located under a single roof. The terminal building consists of several levels. The railway station is located on −1, busses and taxis arrive at 0, arrivals are located on level 2 and departures on level 3. Levels 2 and 3 are connected to the airport's two piers (A and B).
Brussels Airport has two departure halls. The main hall is used by all airlines, with the exception of Jetairfly and Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium. Those two airlines operate from a smaller departure hall next to departure hall 1 as of 30 March 2010. From both the departure halls, both piers can be reached. Brussels Airport currently consists of 54 contact gates, and a total of 109 gates.
Pier A is the newest pier on Brussels Airport and was opened on 15 May 2002. This pier was destined to support flights from and to the Schengen countries (A-gates). However, since 15 October 2008 all Brussels Airlines flights to African destinations are also handled at this pier. Therefore, border control was installed towards the end of the pier in order to create a new pier. As a result, gates A61-72 were renamed T61-72.
Until March 26, 2015, Pier A was connected to the main building via a 400 metres (1,300 ft) long tunnel under the tarmac. Each pier used to have its own security zone, so transfer between the piers involved a security check. This tunnel was replaced by the "Connector", a new building that links both piers above ground and allows passengers to walk straight from the check-in desk to their gate in pier A or B, without changing floors. In the opposite direction, the building provides arriving passengers with a smooth and convenient passage to the baggage reclaim hall and the exit. Furthermore, border control has been relocated to a 25-lane screening platform (Europe's largest) inside the Connector which means that changing planes no longer requires a security check.
Pier B is the oldest pier that is still in use at Brussels Airport and is only used for flights outside the Schengen Area. Pier B is connected immediately to the main departure hall and consists of two decks. The upper deck (level 3) is at the same level as the departure halls and is used for the departing passengers, whereas the lower deck (level 2) is used for arriving passengers and connects immediately to border control and the baggage claim area.
Pier A West
Pier A West is a planned expansion of Pier A, and is meant to relieve Pier B by also handling flights from non-Schengen countries. Pier A West was due to open in 2016, but because of the slow passenger growth, Brussels Airport announced in July 2013 that the works will be delayed until further notice.
Just as is the case for Pier A West, the construction of a new low-cost pier is currently on hold. It will be built roughly where the old south pier used to be. At present, several low-cost airlines including Ryanair and Wizz Air fly to Brussels-South Charleroi Airport, 40 km (25 mi) away from Brussels. In autumn 2013, low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines has announced it will end its flights between Brussels Airport and Turkey. The service between Brussels and Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen will relocate to Brussels-South Charleroi Airport. However, Turkish Airlines announced on 26 November 2013 it will offer one daily flight on the same route, starting one month after Pegasus terminates its operations at the airport. One day later, Ryanair announced the opening of a second Belgian base at Brussels Airport, giving a boost to low-cost traffic at Brussels Airport. Ryanair announced on 27 November 10 new routes from Brussels Airport, although Brussels-South Charleroi Airport will remain the low-cost carrier's primary Belgian base.
Shops, bars and restaurants are scattered throughout the building. A few facilities are located in the departure area. These are mostly convenience stores and small shops such as the airport shop, a pharmacy, Relay stores, and a coffee shop. But most of the facilities can only be accessed after Security control – and are tax free. Several brands and chains have a branch in both piers, however several only operate in pier A.
From 6 December 2013, all passengers have 30 minutes free Wi-Fi access. After this period, passengers can buy additional Wi-Fi access using their credit card. Telenet, Boingo and iPass customers have unlimited free Wi-Fi access at Brussels Airport.
The airport provides meeting facilities and can host congresses up to 600 participants, either in the Regus Skyport Meeting Center or in the Sheraton Brussels Airport Hotel. The latter is the only hotel located on the airport grounds, opposite the terminal. Shuttle services are provided to 14 nearby hotels.
Airlines and destinations
|Rank||Destination||Airport(s)||Passengers 2011||Passengers 2012||Passengers 2013||Top carriers|
|1||New York, NY, USA||JFK, EWR||581,658||664,152||574,106||Brussels Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Jet Airways, United Airlines|
|2||Washington, DC, USA||IAD||152,754||159,764||201,144||United Airlines, Brussels Airlines|
|3||Tel Aviv, Israel||TLV||169,098||187,786||187,433||Brussels Airlines, El Al, Jetairfly|
|4||Abu Dhabi, UAE||AUH||148,916||171,619||170,743||Etihad Airways|
|5||Casablanca, Morocco||CMN||192,835||194,262||170,076||Air Arabia Maroc, Jetairfly, Royal Air Maroc|
|6||Mumbai, India||BOM||130,071||151,670||157,029||Jet Airways|
|7||Montréal, Canada||YUL||149,420||150,033||145,729||Air Canada, Air Transat|
|8||Toronto, Canada||YYZ||136,630||145,089||144,394||Jet Airways|
|9||New Delhi, India||DEL||130,601||127,714||136,071||Jet Airways|
|10||Chicago, IL, USA||ORD||236,840||104,317||134,294||United Airlines|
|Year||Passenger volume||Change over previous year||Aircraft operations||Change over previous year||Cargo (tonnes)||Change over previous year|
Brussels Airlines has its corporate head office in the b.house, Airport Building 26, located in Diegem, Machelen. Brussels Airlines formed in 2006 as a result of a merger between SN Brussels and Virgin Express. European Air Transport had its head office in Building 4–5, in Zaventem.
Before Sabena went out of business, its head office was in the Sabena House on the grounds of Brussels Airport. When it existed, Virgin Express had its head office in Building 116 in Zaventem. SN Brussels, which formed in 2002, had its head office in Airport Building 117 in Zaventem when it existed. Prior to its disestablishment, Sobelair had its head office in Building 45 in Zaventem.
Brussels Airport can be reached by car via the A201, which is directly connected to the R0 highway. From there, the main highways of Belgium can directly be accessed. Private partners provide three car parks at the airport, offering in total 10,600 parking spaces. Shell operates a self-service gas station near the exit of the airport complex.
De Lijn provides bus transportation to and from various cities in Flanders from platforms A and B (via Brucargo). The MIVB/STIB provides transportation into Brussels city centre at Brussels Luxembourg Station via line 12 (weekdays before 8 pm) or line 21 (weekends and evenings after 8 pm) from platform C. Platform E is used by the Hotel Shuttles, offering shuttle services to several hotels near the area.
Taxis are permanently available in front of the arrivals hall. The fare from the airport to the city centre of Brussels is normally around €45. Licensed taxis can be recognized by the blue and yellow emblem.
The Airport Railway Station is located under the airport building at level −1. The train station has direct services to Antwerp, Brussels, De Panne, Ghent, Hasselt, Landen, Leuven, Mechelen, Nivelles and Quévy. At least four trains per hour serve the most used link to Brussels South Railway Station, where international connections are offered by Eurostar (to London), Thalys (to Amsterdam, Avignon, Cologne, Essen, Lille, Marseille, Paris, and Valence), ICE (to Cologne and Frankfurt) and Eurocity (to Basel, Bern, Chur, Luxembourg and Zürich). There is now also a direct train from the Airport to Paris once a day with Thalys. There is a special agreement with Brussels Airlines and Jet Airways for use of this service.
A direct train link with Leuven was opened on 12 December 2005. A direct link with Antwerp and Mechelen via the so-called Diabolo line was opened for public service on 10 June 2012. The Diabolo project is a public-private partnership. It has been decided that all rail passengers to the Brussels National Airport railway station station pay a "Diabolo supplement" to finance the ongoing and planned work.
Once the new Schuman-Josaphat tunnel is finished, a new connection will be established to connect Brussels Airport directly to the stations of the EU quarter, being Brussels-Schuman and Brussels-Luxembourg. This will bring the travel time between the Airport and the EU quarter to about 15 minutes. The Belgian Railways plan to open the new connection in 2015.
In an attempt to alleviate gridlock around Brussels, the regional transport company De Lijn started the Brabantnet project. Three new lightrail lines will be created, of which 2 will have a stop at Brussels Airport;
- The Airport Tram, connecting Brussels Airport to Brussels-North, but taking a different trajectory than the already existing railway line.
- The Ring Tram, roughly following the northern side of the Brussels Ring and connecting several Brussels suburbs to the Airport
The Brabantnet project is scheduled to be finished by 2020.
Brussels Airport has a special separated road that provides access to the airport for bikers and pedestrians. There is also a special place to park bikes.
Incidents and accidents
- A serious accident in the vicinity of the airport was the crash of Sabena Flight 548, a Boeing 707 on 15 February 1961. The plane crashed during approach on runway 20, killing all 72 people on board and one on the ground. This was the first fatal accident involving a Boeing 707 resulting in the death of the entire United States Figure Skating team on its way to the World Figure Skating Championship in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
- Four aircraft were destroyed on 5 May 2006 when Sabena Technics' hangar 40 burned down. The stricken aircraft were one Lockheed C-130 Hercules (Belgian Air Component) and three Airbus A320 (Armavia, Armenian International Airways and Hellas Jet).
- On 25 May 2008, a Boeing 747-200F operated by Kalitta Air, overran the shorter runway 20, crashed into a field and split in three. The five people on board were taken to hospital with four receiving minor injuries.
- "BRUtrends 2010 by Johan Bockstaele". ISSUU.
- "EBBR – Brussels / Brussels-National" (PDF). AIP Belgium and G.D. of Luxembourg (Available at Eurocontrol website, free registration required). Steenokkerzeel: Belgocontrol AIM. 26 July 2012. part AD 2.EBBR. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- "bedrijf.jpg." Retrieved on 25 April 2010.
- Expatica: Record numbers of passengers at Brussels Airport
- "Brussels Airport vervangt borden met vluchtinformatie". HLN.
- Higgins, Andrew (18 February 2013). "Brazen Jewel Robbery at Brussels Airport Nets $50 Million in Diamonds". New York Times. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- Casert, Raf (19 February 2013). "Casert, Raf, , "Robbers Snatch $50 Million of Diamonds Off Plane in Belgium," Associated Press, February 19, 2013, 4:13 a.m". Worldnews.nbcnews.com.
- Casert, Raf (19 February 2013). "Smith, Vicky, "The Great Plane Robbery: Gang of Fake Police Officers Steal £32m of Diamonds in Airport Heist," Associated Press, February 19, 2013, 18:49". Worldnews.nbcnews.com.
- "L’aéroport de Bruxelles est le plus polluant". lesoir.be.
- "Brussels Airport Website: Plattegrond terminal".
- Shuttles Brussels – Charleroi Airport[dead link]
- "Turkish Airlines Adds Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen – Brussels / Berlin in S14".
- "Welcome to Ryanair!". Ryanair.com.
- "brussels airlines Adds Canary Islands Service in W15". Airlineroute.net. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
- "Jetairfly Flight Plan". Jetairfly.
- "Meridiana expands international network from Olbia, Sardinia".
- "Le Tariffe Basse Ryanair Tornano A Verona La Prossima Estate". corporate.ryanair.com (in Italian). 17 December 2014.
- The relapse in 2001/2002 is due to the combined effects of the September 11 Attacks and the Sabena's bankruptcy that also happened in the last quarter of 2001. The Cargo relapse in 2008/2009 is due to the combined effects of the Financial crisis of 2007–08 and the relocation of DHL Aviation to Leipzig/Halle Airport.
- "Corp – Contact Us." Brussels Airlines. Retrieved on 23 October 2009.
- "Sabena reborn: SN Brussels-Virgin Express merger 'set to take former Belgian flag carrier brand'." Flight Global. 27 October 2006. Retrieved on 23 October 2009.
- "General Conditions of Carriage." DHL. Retrieved on 27 June 2010. "European Air Transport N.V./S.A., a company registered in Belgium with its business address at Building 4–5, Brussels Airport, 1930 Zaventem, Belgium;"
- Von Schreiber, Sylvia. "Organisierte Pleite." Der Spiegel. 26 November 2001. "Wenige Stunden vorher geschah noch weit Merkwürdigeres: Polizisten der Brüsseler "Aufspürungsbrigade 4" drangen in die Privatwohnungen von vier Managern und in das Firmengebäude Sabena House am Flughafen Zaventem ein."
- "World Airline Directory." Flight Global. 30 March – 5 April 2004. 92.
- "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 30 March – 5 April 2004. 71.
- "Survey: World Airlines." Flight International. 1–7 April 2003. 74.
- "Contact Us." Sobelair. 5 December 2002. Retrieved on 27 May 2010.
- "Benelux: Bruges Adds Direct Train Connection With Brussels Airport".
- "AirDisaster.Com". AirDisaster.Com. 15 February 1961.
- "Plane comes off Brussels runway". BBC News. 25 May 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
Media related to Brussels Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Current weather for EBBR at NOAA/NWS
- Accident history for BRU at Aviation Safety Network