New Brussels Airport tool makes holiday departures easier and safer
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New Brussels Airport tool makes holiday departures easier and safer

Credit: Belga

A tool has been designed by Brussels Airport to make travelling abroad during the summer holidays and the coronavirus crisis easier and safer.

The biggest airport in Belgium is expecting to receive around 40,000 passengers per day from 1 July and to guarantee the number of people in the terminal can be spread out, it has developed the ‘Welcome Back’ advice on its website, which will calculate when passengers should arrive at the airport based on their flight data.

“Taking into account flight data, the check-in desk opening time and how busy the airport is at that moment, passengers will receive tailored advice,” according to a press release from Brussels Airport.

The same tool will allow passengers to sign up for notifications which will give them updates on their flight until boarding time.

The airport has also set up new waiting areas in front of the terminal, made of open-sided tents, where people will be asked to queue during peak moments to guarantee social distancing on busier days.

The return of travel abroad

As the vaccination rate goes up in most of Europe, and with the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate being implemented from 1 July, hopes for easier travel this summer have been raised.

Last weekend, Brussels Airport passed 30,000 passengers a day for the first time since the start of the pandemic, whilst tour operator TUI has recorded twice as many bookings in the last two months as between November 2020 and April 2021.

From 1 July, travellers who have requested travel certificates will be able to show that they have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, have a recent negative PCR Covid-19 test, or recently recovered after infection, indicating immunity to travel within the EU.

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Both the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have warned that, as we head into summer, checking whether travellers are carrying legitimate EU’s Digital Covid Certificates in European airports could result in major traffic jams.

“Emphasis should be placed on ensuring that the new elements of the protocol, such as the checking of proof of vaccination or recovery should not create bottlenecks and queues in airport processes,” an EASA statement read.

Since this Monday, people living in Belgium can also get two free PCR tests if they have not yet been invited for vaccination, have not yet been fully vaccinated or received their final dose less than 14 days before travelling.

The Brussels, Charleroi, Antwerp and Ostend-Bruges airports have opened testing centres where travellers, and other people, can get tested using the codes given by the government.