The international airport in Brussels has announced that it is in "full preparation for a partial restart," although there is no word yet on when the facility will reopen, according to a statement on its website. The airport has been closed since last week's terrorist attacks that struck the airport's departures hall and a subway station near the offices of the European Union.
According to the latest update, the airport began erecting temporary constructions last Thursday, including additional security measures. Departing passengers will move through the ground-floor zone of the connector, where they will find an area with temporary check-in desks where passengers can report for their flight and also hand in their luggage. From there the route will make use of the service stairway to the familiar screening platform of Connector, which emerged undamaged from the attacks. The passenger and hand-luggage checks will take place in this area and from here the passengers will follow the normal route. For arriving passengers, the airport said that it is looking at a temporary solution to take them by bus via a hangar.
Before the airport can begin to reopen, these temporary constructions must satisfy all fire and safety regulations and must undergo a real-life test of passenger flows. Additionally, the government must sign off on the new security system.
The construction and fire safety inspection of the temporary constructions will take place Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, 800 airport staff will test the temporary arrangement and infrastructure for the check-in procedure.
The airport has also set up a website at www.brusselsairport2203.be/en/ where passengers can get the latest information on retrieving their car, checking on lost luggage and preparing to travel.
Travel Waiver Updates
Through April 1, Brussels Airlines is offering flights between Belgium and Europe through the Liège and Antwerp. Through March 30, the airline is offering between Europe and Africa and between Europe and North America through Frankfurt and Zurich. Travelers from the U.S. and Europe can check the new schedule for intercontinental flights, as well as request a refund, here. The new schedule for flights within Europe is available here.
American Airlines is waiving change fees for travelers on American Airlines, British Airways or Iberia flights who bought their tickets before March 24 and are scheduled to travel March 30 through April 3. Guests must rebook for travel April 18 through the expiration date of their ticket.
United Airlines has issued a travel waiver for customers who had travel booked March 22 through 31. The airline will waive the change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new flights departing between March 22, 2016, and April 12, 2016, as long as travel is rescheduled in the same cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed, or to or from Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, London, Luxembourg or Paris. For wholly rescheduled travel departing after April 12, 2016, or for a change in departure or destination city other than those listed above, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply. Rescheduled travel must be completed within one year from the date when the ticket was issued.
Delta is offering refunds and no-fee changes for customers who had travel booked March 22 through 31. The new ticket must be reissued on or before March 27, with the rebooked travel to begin no later than March 31.
In hotel news, Marriott International is waiving cancellation fees for guests holding existing reservations at all four Marriott properties in Brussels for the immediate future. The company has also said it will work with group and special event customers on a case by case basis.
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for further updates to this developing story.