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Brussels Airport

Brussels Airport

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Brussels Airport is an international airport 6 NM northeast of Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Belgium. The airport is partially in Zaventem
Zaventem
Zaventem is a municipality in the province of Flemish Brabant, in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. The municipality comprises the towns of Nossegem, Sint-Stevens-Woluwe, Sterrebeek and Zaventem proper. On January 1, 2006 Zaventem had a total population of 28,651...

 and partially in the Diegem
Diegem
Diegem is a town in the municipality of Machelen, Flemish Brabant, Belgium.Its gothic church, inaugurated in 1543, in the centre of town, has a conspicuous tiered spire....

 area of Machelen
Machelen
Machelen is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant. The municipality comprises the towns of Diegem and Machelen proper. On January 1, 2006 Machelen had a total population of 12,500...

, both located in the Flemish Region
Flemish Region
The Flemish Region is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders, of which it is the institutional iteration within the context of the Belgian political system...

 of Belgium.

Brussels Airport currently consists of 54 contact gates, and a total of 109 gates. It is home to around 260 companies, together directly employing 20,000 people.

In 2005, the airport was awarded Best Airport in Europe by Airports Council International
Airports Council International
Airports Council International is the association of the world’s airports. It is a non profit organization, whose prime purpose is to advance the interests of airports and to promote professional excellence in airport management and operations...

/International Air Transport Association
International Air Transport Association
The International Air Transport Association is an international industry trade group of airlines headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where the International Civil Aviation Organization is also headquartered. The executive offices are at the Geneva Airport in SwitzerlandIATA's mission is to...

 (ACI/IATA), based on a survey conducted with over 100,000 passengers worldwide.

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. It is currently owned by the Australian group MAp Airports (75%) and the Belgian State (25%).

History


The origins of Brussels Airport at Zaventem date back to 1940, when the German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 occupying force laid claim to 600 ha (1,482.6 acre) of agricultural fields to the east of Brussels, near the Belgian military back-up airfield "Steenokkerzeel". The Germans constructed 3 runway
Runway
According to ICAO a runway is a "defined rectangular area on a land aerodrome prepared for the landing and take-off of aircraft." Runways may be a man-made surface or a natural surface .- Orientation and dimensions :Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36, which is generally one tenth...

s in the shape of a triangle: runway 02/20 and 07L/25R which are still in use today, and runway 12/30. The airfield buildings however were constructed within the territory of the nearby municipality of Melsbroek and not of Zaventem, which is why the airfield was known to the locals as the airfield of Melsbroek, or "Fliegerhorst Melsbroek" to the Germans. There is an urban legend
Urban legend
An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true...

 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 (3 September 1944), the German infrastructure at Melsbroek fell into the hands of the British. When the old civilian airport in Haren
Haren, Belgium
Haren is an old municipality of Brussels in Belgium, that was merged into the municipality of the City of Brussels in 1921...

 became too small, the Belgian authorities decided to use the aerodrome at Melsbroek for the new national airport. By 1948, a new terminal
Airport terminal
An airport terminal is a building at an airport where passengers transfer between ground transportation and the facilities that allow them to board and disembark from aircraft....

 building was constructed to replace the old wooden building. In the same year, the length of both runways 02/20 and 07L/25R were increased to 1200 m (3,937 ft) and 2450 m (8,038.1 ft) respectively, whereas 12/30 remained at 1300 m (4,265.1 ft). The civil aerodrome of Melsbroek was officially opened by Prince Charles, Count of Flanders, the Prince Regent
Prince Regent
A prince regent is a prince who rules a monarchy as regent instead of a monarch, e.g., due to the Sovereign's incapacity or absence ....

 on 20 July 1948. From 1948 to 1956 many more buildings and facilities were erected, but almost always on the Melsbroek side of the site.

In 1955, a train line connecting the city centre of Brussels with the airport was constructed. The line was officially opened by King Baudouin on 15 May 1955. A direct train link with Leuven
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

 and Liège was opened on 12 December 2005.
In 1956 a new 2300 m (7,545.9 ft) runway was constructed, the 07R/25L which runs parallel with 07L/25R. The runway is still in use today and saw its length later increased to 3200 m (10,498.7 ft). In April 1956 the Belgian government
Belgian federal government
The Cabinet of Belgium is the executive branch of the Belgian federal government, consisting of ministers and secretaries of state drawn from the political parties which form the governing coalition. Formally, the ministers are appointed by the King...

 decided to build a new airport, using the same runways, but with the buildings located within the territory of 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. So historically, the birth date of Zaventem Airport is 5 July 1958. Incidentally, the buildings on the Melsbroek side are still in use by the Belgian Air Force (15th Air Transport Wing
15th Air Transport Wing
The 15th Air Transport Wing is a wing in the Air Component of the Belgian Armed Forces.The wing comprises two operational squadrons, the 21st Squadron and the 20th Squadron, and a Training & Conversion Unit. 21st Squadron is also known as the Liaison and Long-Haul Flight...

), and is still known as Melsbroek airfield. Both Zaventem Airport and Melsbroek Air Base
Melsbroek Air Base
Melsbroek Air Base is a Belgian Air Component facility in Zaventem, Belgium. It is located on the northern side of the same site as Brussels Airport, with which it shares runways and ground and air control facilities....

, the military airfield, share the same runways.

During the boom of commercial aviation in the 1960s and 1970s, several hangars were constructed. A new cargo terminal
Container terminal
A container terminal is a facility where cargo containers are transshipped between different transport vehicles, for onward transportation. The transshipment may be between container ships and land vehicles, for example trains or trucks, in which case the terminal is described as a maritime...

 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 engulfing the demise of the national airline Sabena
Sabena
SABENA was the national airline of Belgium from 1923 to 2001, with its base at Brussels National Airport. After its bankruptcy in 2001, the newly formed SN Brussels Airlines took over part of SABENA's assets in February 2002, which then became Brussels Airlines...

, a new pier was opened. This Pier A is destined to support flights from and to the Schengen treaty
Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on 14 June 1985 near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Economic Community. It was supplemented by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement 5 years later...

 countries and supports since the 15 October 2008 all flights to African destinions (at the T-gates).

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 the airport only slowly recovered from. The airport's future is threatened by disagreement between the governments of Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 and the Brussels Capital Region concerning nocturnal air traffic routes.

The construction of a new low-cost airlines
Low-cost carrier
A low-cost carrier or low-cost airline is an airline that generally has lower fares and fewer comforts...

 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
Ryanair
Ryanair is an Irish low-cost airline. Its head office is at Dublin Airport and its primary operational bases at Dublin Airport and London Stansted Airport....

 and Wizz Air
Wizz Air
Wizz Air Hungary Légiközlekedési Kft. is a Hungarian low-cost airline with headquarters in the Airport Business Park C2 in Vecsés, close to Budapest Ferihegy International Airport, Hungary. The airline typically uses secondary airports serving many cities across Europe.- History :The airline was...

 fly to Brussels-South Charleroi Airport, 40 km (24.9 mi) away from Brussels.

In March 2009, the old mechanical Flight information display system
Flight information display system
A Flight Information Display system is a computer system used in airports to display flight information to passengers, in which a computer system controls mechanical or electronic display boards or TV screens in order to display arrivals and departures flight information in real-time. The displays...

 were replaced by electronic ones.
In September 2009, CEO Wilfried Van Assche resigned. One of the (unofficial) reasons is the delay of the construction of the low-cost terminal and the possible lawsuit by 52 airlines active at Brussels Airport, because of the tax-discrimination. In February 2010 Arnaud Feist was appointed CEO. The company president is Luc Van den Bossche
Luc Van den Bossche
Luc Van den Bossche is a Belgian socialist politician and father of Freya Van den Bossche.He graduated as a Doctor in law at the University of Ghent in 1970. Luc Van den Bossche was a Member of Parliament for a number of years and cabinet member in several federal and regional governments in Belgium...

 (former Belgian government minister).

Airlines and destinations



Charter



Cargo



Other facilities


Brussels Airlines
Brussels Airlines
Brussels Airlines is a flag carrier airline headquartered in the b.house on the grounds of Brussels Airport and in Diegem, Machelen, Belgium and a subsidiary of Lufthansa. It is the largest airline based in Belgium, operating to over 65 destinations in 20 European countries as well as long-haul...

 has its corporate head office in the b.house, Airport Building 26, located in Diegem
Diegem
Diegem is a town in the municipality of Machelen, Flemish Brabant, Belgium.Its gothic church, inaugurated in 1543, in the centre of town, has a conspicuous tiered spire....

, Machelen
Machelen
Machelen is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant. The municipality comprises the towns of Diegem and Machelen proper. On January 1, 2006 Machelen had a total population of 12,500...

. Brussels Airlines formed in 2006 as a result of a merger between SN Brussels and Virgin Express
Virgin Express
N.V. Virgin Express S.A. was an airline created within the Virgin Group. It operated flights mainly to southern Europe from its hub at Brussels Airport. Ticket sales were mainly through the Internet...

. European Air Transport
European Air Transport
European Air Transport N.V./S.A. was a cargo airline with its head office in Building 4-5 on the grounds of Brussels Airport and in Zaventem, Belgium...

 has its head office in Building 4–5, in Zaventem
Zaventem
Zaventem is a municipality in the province of Flemish Brabant, in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. The municipality comprises the towns of Nossegem, Sint-Stevens-Woluwe, Sterrebeek and Zaventem proper. On January 1, 2006 Zaventem had a total population of 28,651...

.

Before Sabena
Sabena
SABENA was the national airline of Belgium from 1923 to 2001, with its base at Brussels National Airport. After its bankruptcy in 2001, the newly formed SN Brussels Airlines took over part of SABENA's assets in February 2002, which then became Brussels Airlines...

 went out of business, its head office was in the Sabena House on the grounds of Brussels Airport. When it existed, Virgin Express
Virgin Express
N.V. Virgin Express S.A. was an airline created within the Virgin Group. It operated flights mainly to southern Europe from its hub at Brussels Airport. Ticket sales were mainly through the Internet...

 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
Sobelair
Sobelair was an airline from Belgium. It was headquartered in Brussels and operated mostly non-scheduled passenger and cargo flights out of Brussels Airport.-History:...

 had its head office in Building 45 in Zaventem.

Car and taxi




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.

Bicycle


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.

Rail


The Brussels National Airport railway station
Brussels National Airport railway station
Brussels National Airport railway station is a terminus train station at Brussels Airport. It was opened in 1958 in the old airport building, mainly for the universal exposition in Brussels. With the opening of a new airport terminal in 1994, the railway station was moved in 1998 to a new location...

 is located under the airport building at level −1. The train station has direct services to Brussels, De Panne
De Panne
De Panne is a municipality located along the North Sea coast of the Belgian province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the towns of Adinkerke and De Panne proper. On 1 January 2006 De Panne had a total population of 10,060. The total area is 23.90 km² which gives a population...

, Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

, Hasselt
Hasselt
Hasselt is a Belgian city and municipality, and capital of the Flemish province of Limburg...

, Landen
Landen
Landen is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant. The municipality comprises the city of Landen proper and the towns of Attenhoven, Eliksem, Ezemaal, Laar, Neerlanden, Neerwinden, Overwinden, Rumsdorp, Waasmont, Walsbets, Walshoutem, Wange and Wezeren. On January 1, 2006...

, Leuven
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

, Nivelles
Nivelles
Nivelles is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Walloon Brabant. The Nivelles municipality includes the old communes of Baulers, Bornival, Thines, and Monstreux....

 and Quévy
Quévy
Quévy is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. On January 1, 2006 Quévy had a total population of 7,734. The total area is 65.16 km² which gives a population density of 119 inhabitants per km²....

. The most used link to Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 has at least 3 trains per hour. There is also now a direct train 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
Mechelen
Mechelen Footnote: Mechelen became known in English as 'Mechlin' from which the adjective 'Mechlinian' is derived...

 via the so-called Diabolo
Diabolo project
The Diabolo project is creating a new railway line serving Brussels National Airport.It is so called because of its shape: the line forms a chord between the Brussels-Leuven line going east and the Brussels-Antwerp line going north, and connects with them via a triangular junction at each end...

 line is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The Diabolo project is a public private partnership. It has been decided that all rail passengers to the Brussels National Airport railway station
Brussels National Airport railway station
Brussels National Airport railway station is a terminus train station at Brussels Airport. It was opened in 1958 in the old airport building, mainly for the universal exposition in Brussels. With the opening of a new airport terminal in 1994, the railway station was moved in 1998 to a new location...

 station pay a "Diabolo supplement" to finance the ongoing and planned work.

Bus


De Lijn
De Lijn
Vlaamse Vervoersmaatschappij De Lijn , usually known as simply De Lijn , is a company run by the Flemish government in Belgium to provide public transportation, similar to the way in which Belgian railroads or the postal system is run. It runs about 3650 buses and 359 trams...

 provides transportation to and from various cities in Flanders.
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).

Incidents and accidents


  • A serious accident in the vicinity of the airport was the crash of Sabena Flight 548
    Sabena Flight 548
    Sabena Flight 548, registration OO-SJB, was a Boeing 707 aircraft that crashed en route to Brussels, Belgium, from New York City on February 15, 1961, killing the entire United States Figure Skating team on its way to the 1961 World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.The flight, which...

    , a Boeing 707
    Boeing 707
    The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

     on 15 February 1961. The plane crashed during approach
    Final approach (aviation)
    A final approach is the last leg in an aircraft's approach to landing. In aviation radio terminology, it is often shortened to "final".In a standard airport landing pattern, which is usually used under visual meteorological conditions , aircraft turn from base leg to final within one to two miles...

     on runway 20, killing all 72 people on board and one on the ground.
  • Four aircraft were destroyed on 5 May 2006 when Sabena Technics' hangar
    Hangar
    A hangar is a closed structure to hold aircraft or spacecraft in protective storage. Most hangars are built of metal, but other materials such as wood and concrete are also sometimes used...

     40 burned down. The stricken aircraft were one Lockheed C-130 Hercules
    C-130 Hercules
    The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

     (Belgian Air Component) and three Airbus A320 (Armavia
    Armavia
    Air Company "Armavia" is an airline with its head office on the grounds of Zvartnots International Airport in Zvartnots, Armenia, near Yerevan. It operates international passenger services from Yerevan to destinations in Europe and Asia...

    , Armenian International Airways
    Armenian International Airways
    Armenian International Airways was a privately owned airline operating international passenger flights based from Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan, Armenia.-History:...

     and Hellas Jet
    Hellas Jet
    Hellas Jet was a charter airline based in Athens, Greece, operating services to Greece from destinations in Europe. Its main base was Athens International Airport. Hellas Jet was a licenced scheduled and charter carrier, holding a JAA AOC and a Line Maintenance Certificate under JAA/EASA Part 145,...

    ).
  • On 25 May 2008, a Boeing 747-200F
    Boeing 747
    The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

     operated by Kalitta Air
    Kalitta Air
    Kalitta Air is an American cargo airline headquartered in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, United States. It operates international scheduled and ad-hoc cargo charter services. Its main base is Willow Run Airport near Ypsilanti.-History:...

    , 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.



External links