'Missing link': Tram from Brussels to Zaventem airport one step closer

'Missing link': Tram from Brussels to Zaventem airport one step closer
Credit: Werken aan de Ring / Pascal Smet's office

The tram connection between Brussels Airport in Zaventem and the capital's city centre is one step closer to being realised.

An urban development permit has been granted to build a stretch of tramline running from the NATO roundabout to the border with Flanders.

This permit clearly shows that Brussels wants to work together with Flanders to connect the city centre to the international airport from Brussels-North station, transforming the city's entrance into an urban boulevard.

"It is a strategic objective of the Brussels government to connect Brussels and its airport via a high-frequency tram that can transport many passengers," said Brussels State Secretary for Urban Planning Pascal Smet, adding that this is "fully in line" with the regional vision on multimodal mobility.

Gateway to Brussels

The tramline will be extended from Avenue du Bourget to the Flemish region, with bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure along Rue de la Fusée. The tram will better connect Brussels with the metropolitan area in Flanders and demonstrates that dialogue and interregional cooperation exist and yield results.

Additionally, it ties in with the authorities' efforts to transform the city entrance into a boulevard with new cycling infrastructure. "With more than 19 million passengers in 2022, Brussels Airport is the gateway to Brussels for many visitors," Smet said.

The office and business zone around the airport, he said, is also economically very important and provides employment for many Brussels residents. "Often the focus is on the conflicts in our country, but this project is a real win-win for Flanders and Brussels in terms of mobility, quality of public space, and employment."

(continues below photos)

Credit: Werken aan de Ring

In concrete terms, the urban planning permit issued relates to a strip on the territory of the Brussels-Capital Region, namely a 400-metre stretch between NATO and the regional border. Although the permit issued only covers a short distance of the planned 12 kilometres for the extension of the Bourget-Airport line, it is an important step forward in this ambitious inter-regional project.

The Airport Tram will be an additional way of travelling between the airport and Brussels, along with existing options: STIB bus line 12, the De Lijn bus lines departing from the North station, and the train from Brussels-South/Midi.

"The tram will become the missing link. There is no doubt about that," authorities said in a press release. "Thanks to its six new stops and the residential and activity areas between the capital and the airport, the Airport Tram will appeal to many people."

Related News

In addition to the thousands of tourists who want to go from the airport to the city centre, this new public transport option will be especially useful for residents of Schaerbeek, Haren and Evere and for the many Brussels residents who work in companies in Evere, Diegem or Zaventem.

Additionally, the project also aims to redesign the landscape of this city entrance and turn it into a real city boulevard, encouraging commuters to leave their cars at home and opt for public transport or cycling.

There will also be many new cycling and pedestrian paths and trees will be planted along the entire line to embellish the public space.

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.