Brussels Airport reopens following attacks | News | DW | 03.04.2016
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Brussels Airport reopens following attacks

Brussels Airport has reopened with three flights and strict additional security checks for passengers. The key transport hub has been closed since two men blew themselves up in the departure hall on March 22.

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Brussels Airport begins operations

The first passenger flight bound for Faro, Portugal, took off from Brussels Airport on Sunday. Two other flights to Turin and and Athens were due to depart later the same day, with three return flights also scheduled for the evening.

The departues on Sunday came almost two weeks since "Islamic State" (IS) supporters detonated two devices in the airport's main terminal.

"These flights are the first hopeful sign from an airport that is standing up straight after a cowardly attack," Brussels Airport CEO Arnaud Feist told reporters.

On Monday, the airport was due to resume flights to a wider range of destinations, including New York and Cameroon.

Ahead of the airport's re-opening, new security measures were implemented after police unions threatened to go on strike if no additional controls were introduced.

People traveling from Brussels are now required to reach the airport three hours before departure. Initially, the airport will only be accessible by car, and vehicles will be screened and subjected to spot checks.

Only passengers with tickets and ID documents would be allowed into the airport's makeshift departure hall, with a tent-like facility for check-in. Luggage will also be checked before entering the secure zone, officials said.

Extra police and soldiers have also been deployed to patrol the area around the airport.

Islamist attacks

Brussels Airport was forced to close on March 22 after two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the departure hall as part of coordinated attacks in the the Belgian capital. In total, 32 people were killed.

The departure hall was completely destroyed in the blast, Feist said. The facility was expected to begin functioning normally by June or July this year.

More than 20,000 people work at Brussels Airport, making it one of Belgium's largest employers. The airport claims to contribute over 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) annually to the country's economy.

ksb, mg/jlw (AP, AFP)

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