BRUSSELS – Brussels Airport said it would reopen on Sunday, 12 days after it was hit by Islamic State suicide blasts, as Belgian prosecutors charged a third suspect with terrorism over a foiled plot to attack France.
The first three ‘symbolic flights’ will begin departing from Sunday afternoon, Brussels Airport chief executive Arnaud Feist told reporters, adding that travelers will be subject to additional security checks, as police had demanded.
“This restart, even if it`s only partially, is a sign of hope,” Feist said.
Passengers will have to make use of a temporary check-in facility as the airport`s departure hall was wrecked in the March 22 blasts that also struck a metro station in Brussels and killed 32 people.
Brussels Airport had on Thursday already announced it was “technically ready” to resume partial services after testing the tent-like new departure hall.
But police unions held up the restart, threatening to go on strike unless stricter checks were introduced. A deal with the government was reached late Friday, clearing the way for flights to resume.
One of the biggest changes will be that from now only passengers with tickets and ID documents are allowed into the new departure hall, and their bags will be checked before entering.
The number plates of cars headed for the airport will be scanned and police will carry out spot checks.
The first scheduled flights to Athens, Turin and Faro will be operated by Brussels Airlines and start leaving from Sunday afternoon, Feist said.
The number of flights will be increased in coming days, although the airport will be only be able to work at 20 percent capacity using the temporary structures, handling 800 to 1,000 passengers an hour.
Feist has said it could take months to return to normal.
The airport shutdown has wreaked havoc on the travel industry, triggering a drop in tourist arrivals and forcing thousands of passengers to be rerouted to other airports in and around Belgium.In the tense Belgian capital meanwhile, police were out in force Friday, with water cannons on the streets and helicopters hovering above after local authorities banned an anti-Islam demonstration and any counter-protests.
Govt to present its policies and programmes Monday
KATHMANDU — The government is preparing to present its policies and programs for the fiscal year 2018/19 at the Federal Parliament on Monday.
According to Joint Spokesperson at the Federal Parliament Secretariat Keshav Aryal, all preparations are over for the release of the government policies and programs to be made by the President Bidya Devi Bhandari from New Baneshwor-based Federal Parliament Building at 4:00 pm Monday.
President Bhandari would unveil the government policies and programs for the first time in the joint meeting of the Federal Parliament after the promulgation of the new constitution.
As per the constitution, the President can address any of the House meeting or the joint meeting of the Federal Parliaments and summon the lawmakers for their presence.
Vice President, top leaders of different political parties, high-ranking government officials, chiefs of the constitutional bodies, chiefs of the security bodies and chiefs of the diplomatic missions in Nepal are invited for the program.Follow @gorkhapost