Thousands of airline passengers were forced to take off on holiday from Brussels Airport on Saturday without their luggage, after a computer breakdown crippled the system.
This morning, the airport reported ten thousand of bags had been left behind by their owners, and the system could take until Wednesday to catch up with the backlog, leaving some people, including families, without luggage for up to four days.
The automatic baggage-handling system which scans baggage tags to send bags to the appropriate flight broke down on Saturday morning, but had been restored at around 1300. In the meantime, baggage was being handled manually, causing major delays. By the time the system was fixed, many flights had already taken off, and many passengers were unaware their luggage was not taking off with them. Many other flights were delayed by the problem, heading for both European and long-haul destinations. The average delay was 22 minutes, the airport said.
“There are ten thousand pieces of luggage for different airlines left behind,” a spokesperson for the airport told Belga news agency. “We have started sending the luggage after its owners in various destinations.” Some 42,000 passengers were scheduled to pass through Brussels Airport yesterday.
Some bags were able to be sent on flights to the same destination after the system had been restored, the airport said. “The airlines are helping out. It’s impossible to give a timing for the operation, because we don’t fly to every destination every day from Zaventem. But it will certainly take another few days.”