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Brussels Airport braced for 72,000 passengers on Friday as summer getaway begins

16:29 29/06/2022

Brussels Airport is preparing for its busiest weekend of the year so far, with 72,000 passengers expected on Friday alone as the summer holidays begin.

The airport's managing director, Arnaud Feist, said "all the necessary measures had been taken" to handle the big getaway.

"Queues are possible, but the situation shouldn't be chaotic," he said. "We've hired a lot of extra staff over the past three months." The number of vacant positions at the airport has fallen from 1,200 at the beginning of May to 590 today following a major recruitment campaign.

Passengers are advised to arrive at least two hours in advance for a flight within the Schengen area, and at least three hours for a non-Schengen flight.

After two years of reduced foreign travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, Belgium's national airport at Zaventem is preparing for four million passengers this summer - arrivals and departures combined.

This figure represents 74% of pre-pandemic levels of travel. In 2019, the airport handled 5.4 million passengers over the same period. Flights from Brussels Airport this summer will serve 185 direct destinations offered by 60 airlines.

Smaller local airports at Ostend and Antwerp are, between them, expecting 150,000 passengers over the holiday period. Ostend has direct flights to 12 Spanish and Greek destinations this summer, while from Antwerp it is possible to fly to Spain, Croatia, France and Morocco.

Travellers attempting an early start to the summer break last week were hit by strike action, including a one-day walkout at Brussels Airport and the cancellation of hundreds of flights by Brussels Airlines and Ryanair.

Unions representing Brussels Airlines staff have agreed to a further meeting with management next Monday (4 July) to discuss working conditions over the busy summer period.

Management had initially suggested a meeting on 22 August, which unions said was too late. Depending on the outcome of Monday's meeting, unions could ballot members about further strike action.

Written by The Bulletin