'Sign of Hope': Brussels Airport Reopens

First of 3 flights takes off as airport slowly gets back on its feet
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2016 7:13 AM CDT
'Sign of Hope': Brussels Airport Reopens
Police guard the entrance road at Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, Belgium, Sunday, April 3, 2016. Under extra security, three Brussels Airlines flights, the first for Faro in Portugal, are scheduled to leave Sunday from an airport that used to handle about 600 flights a day.    (Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

A Brussels Airlines flight heading to the Portuguese city of Faro has taken off from Brussels Airport—the first passenger flight to leave the airport since suicide bombings on March 22 blew up its departures terminal. Arnaud Feist, the CEO of Brussels Airport Co., says the three flights leaving Sunday are "a sign of hope" that even partial passenger service could resume so soon following "the darkest days in the history of aviation in Belgium." The airport is using temporary structures, reports the Wall Street Journal; it hopes to return to 20% of normal capacity in coming days, and reach full capacity by late June or early July.

The airport has been closed since suicide bombings at the airport and in the Brussels subway killed 32 victims and wounded 270. Security at the airport was tight Sunday with completely new check-in procedures for passengers. Other planes scheduled to leave included Brussels Airlines flights to Athens and Turin, Italy. Three return flights were expected Sunday evening, notes the Journal. (Read more Brussels attack stories.)

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