Freighter flights have resumed today at Brussels Zaventem Airport, although it remains closed to all passenger traffic following yesterday’s deadly terrorist attacks.
As Lloyd’s Loading List was going to press, a cargo source at Brussels Airport said landside cargo operations had resumed this morning, “and the airport will open again for full cargo flights operating at apron 9, the BRUcargo area”.
Brussels Airport Authority said there would be no passenger flights today or tomorrow, but Brucargo (the cargo zone at Zaventem) landside had been cleared since yesterday, and as soon as Brucargo airside is cleared, cargo flights could resume.
A cargo source at Brussels Airport told Lloyd’s Loading List that this had now been achieved and cargo flights could resume with immediate effect.
A senior official at cargo handler Swissport Cargo’s Zaventem office confirmed to Lloyd’s Loading List this morning that the airport had remained closed for all flights this morning, with only trucking operations possible.
Although there were some freighter flights yesterday, the airport said these were only empty repositioning flights from international carriers, the airport said, although it confirmed that the brucargo zone landside had become accessible late yesterday.
Sources indicate that some cargo flights bound for Brussels or scheduled to operate from the Belgian capital had been re-routed to other airports, and that cargo security screening had been increased following yesterday’s attacks.
A spokesman for Cathay Pacific Cargo, which has an off-line sales and trucking operation at Zaventem, said that since the attacks, even ‘known shipper’ cargo has had to be security screened and that any freight coming into Brucargo cannot stay in warehouses for more than 24 hours.
CargoForwarder Global yesterday reported that following the attacks the Belgian aviation authority DGLV/DGTA had ordered that only air cargo that has been screened in-house would be allowed to fly. Cargo coming from a known consignor or a regulated agent has to be rescreened if there is a presumption, however small, that the secure supply chain has not been respected or has been breached, it said.
Meanwhile, in its latest service update, DHL Express and DHL Parcel said there were a number of ongoing security operations in the city and the airport, although DHL Express and DHL Parcel had resumed delivery and pick-up services in the city centre.
“All flights to/from Brussels remain suspended, and we are therefore implementing contingency options for shipments scheduled to transit Brussels to ensure that they can be re-routed and that disruption for customers is minimized. Delays on shipments to/from Brussels are possible and shipments that were on hold at the airport yesterday can still not be released. Services to other locations in Belgium are being maintained.”
As reported yesterday by Lloyd’s Loading List, forwarding and express firms based at Brussels Zaventem Airport have been preparing contingency plans, including re-routing air freight to other airports, after the deadly terrorist attack yesterday morning at the passenger terminal of Belgium’s main airport caused all flights and airside cargo operations to be suspended.
Twin explosions at the airport and another at a metro station on Tuesday left around 34 dead and 250 wounded. So-called Islamic State (IS) has said it was behind the attacks and warned that more would follow, the BBC reported.
Two of the other attackers have been named in Belgian media as the brothers Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui, who were reportedly known to Belgian police prior to the attacks. But Belgian media have retracted reports that a key suspect in the attacks in Brussels, Najim Laachraoui, had been arrested.
Belgium is observing three days of national mourning and held a minute’s silence for the victims at midday today local time (11.00 GMT).
Source: BREAKING NEWS: Freighter flights resume at Brussels Airport – Lloyd’s Loading List