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    The Easter holidays are here, but so is traffic

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    There are 30,000 more people leaving on vacation this year than there were last year. There will be around 1.3 million vacationers this year during the Easter holidays, reports Het Nieuwsblad. A lot of people are skipping the last day of school or work, and are already leaving for their holidays today as well.

    “Starting from today, until Monday, April 22, we’re expecting large crowds,” said Nathalie Pierard, the airport spokesperson. “Today will be the busiest day, peaking between 7 and 10 pm.”

    The airport data shows that Belgians this holiday especially are seeking the sun. “Milan, Rome, Madrid, Malaga and Nice are the most popular cities to travel to,” said Pierard. “Outside of Europe, it’s mostly New York, Washington, Accra, Toronto and Dakar that seem to be doing well.”

    TUI Fly reports lots of trips to Spain, Turkey, the Canary Islands and Egypt. The more exotic destinations seem to be the Caribbean, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

    Earlier this week, Brussels Airport announced that travellers would be received in true Easter fashion, with chocolate eggs and Easter Bunnies to take pictures with. The airport doesn’t foresee any possible strikes over the weekend as there were at Charleroi Airport. “Security agents announced that they wouldn’t strike. We planned for new consultations on April 23, right after the holidays.”

    The air traffic controllers from Skeyes are also working again after a few eventful days of almost all personnel calling in sick. “As far as we know, everything is taken care of and there won’t be any actions. But we can never be completely sure,” said Pierard. Passengers are advised to be at the airport on time, either way. “Even without strikes or anything else going wrong, it’s going to be very busy,” said Pierard. “The earlier they’re here, the easier it is to avoid delays.”

    If your flight would be cancelled anyway, because of strikes or technical issues, there are two possibilities. You choose a new flight on another hour or day depending on available seats, or you receive a reimbursement of your booked flight.

    As the Easter Holiday in Belgium starts earlier than in our neighbouring countries, traffic won’t be as heavy as other years. Who is driving to their holiday destination doesn’t have to keep an eye out for traffic jams, mobility club Touring stated.

    “Sunday is still the best day to start driving,” said Jan Van Bellingen from Touring. “But the holidays are starting off easy. Friday afternoon and evening will be busy, but nothing alarming.”

    However next weekend, Friday 12 and Saturday 13 of April, Touring predicts heavy traffic with a lot of traffic jams across the whole of Europe. The weekend after, on Easter, it will be even busier. “Long queues will be the rule, not the exception,” said Van Bellingen. “We’re predicting the heaviest traffic on Friday, April 19 starting from the late morning.”

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times