Brussels Airport (also called Brussel-Nationaal / Bruxelles-National (Brussels-National) or Zaventem) is an international airport 6.5 NM (12.0 km; 7.5 mi) northeast of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. In 2015, more than 23 million passengers arrived or departed at Brussels Airport, making it the 21st busiest airport in Europe.
It is home to around 260 companies, together directly employing 20,000 people and serves as the home base for Brussels Airlines, TUIfly Belgiumand Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium.
Airlines & Destinations
Brussels Airport can be reached by car via the A201, which is directly connected to the Brussels Ring Road. From there, the main highways of Belgium can directly be accessed. Private partners provide three car parks at the airport, offering in total 10,600 parking spaces. Shell operates a self-service gas station near the exit of the airport complex.
Several car rental services are located in the airport as well. Europcar, Hertz, Sixt and Thrifty all operate at Brussels Airport. Taxi2Share provides sharing cab service from airport.
De Lijn provides bus transportation to and from various cities in Flanders from platforms A and B (via Brucargo). The MIVB/STIB provides transportation into Brussels city centre at Brussels Luxembourg Station via line 12 (weekdays before 8 pm) or line 21 (weekends and evenings after 8 pm) from platform C. Platform E is used by the Hotel Shuttles, offering shuttle services to several hotels near the area.
Taxis are permanently available in front of the arrivals hall. Licensed taxis can be recognized by the blue and yellow emblem.
The Airport Railway Station is located under the airport building at level −1. The train station has direct services to Antwerp, Brussels, De Panne, Ghent, Hasselt, Landen, Leuven, Mechelen, Nivelles and Quévy. At least four trains per hour serve the most used link to Brussels South Railway Station, where international connections are offered by Eurostar (to London), Thalys (to Amsterdam, Avignon, Cologne, Essen, Lille, Marseille, Paris and Valence), ICE (to Cologne and Frankfurt), and Eurocity (to Basel, Bern, Chur, Luxembourg and Zürich).
A direct train link with Leuven was opened on 12 December 2005. A direct link with Antwerpand Mechelen via the so-called Diabolo line was opened for public service on 10 June 2012. The Diabolo project is a public-private partnership. It has been decided that all rail passengers to the Brussels National Airport railway station pay a "Diabolo supplement" to finance the ongoing and planned work.
As of December 2014, a direct train link between Bruges and the Airport will be offered, just as an Intercity service to Schiphol and Amsterdam.
Since the new Schuman-Josaphat tunnel has been finished, a new connection has been established to connect Brussels Airport directly to the stations of the EU quarter, being Brussels-Schuman and Brussels-Luxembourg. This brought the travel time between the Airport and the EU quarter to 15 minutes. The Belgian Railways announced the line to open as an hourly service. However, the line now sees a train every 30 minutes on weekdays.
In an attempt to alleviate gridlock around Brussels, the regional transport company De Lijnstarted the Brabantnet project. Three new lightrail lines will be created, of which 2 will have a stop at Brussels Airport;
- The Airport Tram, connecting Brussels Airport to Brussels-North, but taking a different trajectory than the already existing railway line.
- The Ring Tram, roughly following the northern side of the Brussels Ring and connecting several Brussels suburbs to the Airport
The Brabantnet project is scheduled to be finished by 2020.
To speed up the process, testing started in August 2016 with a Trambus, a Bus rapid transit system developed by Belgian bus builder Van Hool. As these require less investment, the Ring Tram line could enter in Service as early as 2019. This Trambus solution would be an in-between step until the Tram line is finished.
Brussels Airport has a special separated road that provides access to the airport for bikers and pedestrians. There is also a special place to park bikes. By 2018 a connection will be created between the airport and the Bike Highway Brussels - Leuven. This should increase the number of employees commuting by bike, which only stands at 1%.
Brussels Airport uses a one terminal concept, meaning that all the facilities are located under a single roof. The terminal building consists of several levels. The railway station is located on −1, buses and taxis arrive at 0, arrivals are located on level 2 and departures on level 3. Levels 2 and 3 are connected to the airport's two piers (A and B).
Pier A is the newest pier on Brussels Airport and was opened on 15 May 2002. This pier was destined to support flights from and to the Schengen countries (A-gates). However, since 15 October 2008 all Brussels Airlines flights to African destinations are also handled at this pier. Therefore, border control was installed towards the end of the pier in order to create a new pier. As a result, gates A61-72 were renamed T61-72. Later, Brussels Airlines' daily flight to New York was also moved here from pier B.
Until March 26, 2015, Pier A was connected to the main building via a 400-metre-long (1,300 ft) tunnel under the apron. Each pier used to have its own security zone, so transfer between the piers involved a security check. This tunnel was replaced by the "Connector", a new building that links both piers above ground and allows passengers to walk straight from the check-in desk to their gate in pier A or B, without changing floors. In the opposite direction, the building provides arriving passengers with a smooth and convenient passage to the baggage reclaim hall and the exit. Furthermore, border control has been relocated to a 25-lane screening platform (Europe's largest) inside the Connector which means that changing planes no longer requires a security check.
Pier B is the oldest pier still in use at Brussels Airport and is only used for flights outside the Schengen Area. Pier B is connected immediately to the main departure hall and consists of two decks. The upper deck (level 3) is at the same level as the departure halls and is used for the departing passengers, whereas the lower deck (level 2) is used for arriving passengers and connects immediately to border control and the baggage claim area.
Pier A West
Pier A West is a planned expansion of Pier A, and is meant to relieve Pier B by also handling flights from non-Schengen countries. Pier A West was due to open in 2016, but because of the slow passenger growth, Brussels Airport announced in July 2013 that the works would be delayed. However, in November 2015, Brussels Airport announced a major 550 million euro investment and pointed out that within this investment the extension of the pier is included.
Just as is the case for Pier A West, the construction of a new low-cost pier is currently on hold. It will be built roughly where the old south pier used to be. At present, several low-cost airlines including Ryanair and Wizz Air fly to Brussels-South Charleroi Airport, 40 km (25 mi) away from Brussels. In autumn 2013, low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines has announced it will end its flights between Brussels Airport and Turkey. The service between Brussels and Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen will relocate to Brussels-South Charleroi Airport. However, Turkish Airlinesannounced on 26 November 2013 it will offer one daily flight on the same route, starting one month after Pegasus terminates its operations at the airport. One day later, Ryanair announced the opening of a second Belgian base at Brussels Airport, giving a boost to low-cost traffic at Brussels Airport. Ryanair announced on 27 November 10 new routes from Brussels Airport, although Brussels-South Charleroi Airport will remain the low-cost carrier's primary Belgian base.
Accommodation & Hotels
Shops, bars and restaurants are scattered throughout the building. A few facilities are located in the departure area. These are mostly convenience stores and small shops such as the airport shop, a pharmacy, Relay stores and a coffee shop. But most of the facilities can only be accessed after Security control –and are tax free. Several brands and chains have a branch in both piers, however several only operate in pier A. The airport also features places of worship (for Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Orthodox Christians and Protestants), as well as a place for meditation for humanists. The airport provides meeting facilities and can host congresses up to 600 participants, either in the Regus Skyport Meeting Center or in the Sheraton Brussels Airport Hotel. The latter is the only hotel located on the airport grounds, opposite the terminal. Shuttle services are provided to 14 nearby hotels.
All passengers now have unlimited free Wi-Fi access. Telenet, Boingo Wireless and iPass Inc. customers continue to have unlimited free Wi-Fi access through their personal accounts.