Brussels airport departure hall reopens after deadly bombings

Brussels Airport. [Photo/]

Brussels airport partially reopened its departure hall on Sunday (May 1), less than six weeks after Islamic State suicide bombers killed 16 people there in blasts that gutted parts of the building.

The two attackers detonated suitcase bombs in the departure hall of Zaventem airport on March 22, before a third bomber blew himself up on a metro train in the city. In all, they killed 32 people.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel paid tribute to the victims at an opening ceremony, saying “Brussels is back in business.”

Passengers for three flights to Lisbon, Palma and Malaga were the first to use the renovated check-in area on Sunday.

Brussels airlines employee Sarra Barrani said it was a strange feeling to be back after the events.

“But at the same time we are proud, we are happy to return here and to be there for our passengers and all the victims. We want to show that we are there and that together we remain strong,” the 24-year-old told Reuters Television.

Polish passenger Kaja Kantorska, who lives in Brussels and was travelling to Majorca, said every traveller felt tense, but hoped it would ease after take-off.

From Monday (May 2), 111 check-in counters will be open in the airport departure hall and another 36 in a temporary building, the airport management company said, bringing departure passenger capacity to at least 80 percent of that before the attacks.

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