Measures taken to avoid repeats of chaos at Brussels Airport
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Measures taken to avoid repeats of chaos at Brussels Airport

Credit: Belga

Measures have been taken to avoid repeats of the massive queues at Brussels Airport on 3 January, Federal Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet told the House Committee on Tuesday.

Crowding throughout the airport’s various checks lead to frustration and exasperation among travellers as they returned from their holidays after the Consultative Committee tightened controls on travellers returning from abroad, including through the so-called Passenger Locator Form.

“The incident, the consequence of human error, was limited in time,” according to Gilkinet, who summoned the managers of Brussels Airport Company (the private company responsible for managing the airport), federal police officers and the crisis centre two days after the mass chaos ensued.

Specifically, the incident seemed to have been due to a lack of communication between the airport stewards and the police officers assigned to the checks, and due to the simultaneous arrivals of various flights as several planes were delayed.

Since last weekend, more stewards have been deployed in the queues to better manage the flow of passengers and ensure better communication with the police. The goal is to react more quickly in order to open the control system as quickly as possible.

In addition, selective passenger screening is also being carried out.

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“This type of system has already proved its worth several times in the past in the months following the terrorist attacks,” Gilkinet said. “It is to be hoped that the same can be done in the coming months.”

Many travellers have returned from red zones after the Christmas holidays, and they have been blamed for Brussels’ rising coronavirus infections by a member of the Brussels Health Inspectorate.

Nearly 40,000 travellers returned from a red zone in during the first weekend of the year alone.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times