Brussels Airport closure & impact on airfreight operations
All flights have been suspended at Brussels Airport (IATA: BRU) following the two explosions. The evacuation of the airport is reportedly complete and it remains in lockdown. Authorities have instructed people not to come to the airport, and the airport is expected to remain closed until at least 6:00 AM local time on Wednesday. All inbound flights are reportedly being diverted to nearby airports in the region.
The cargo area of Brussels Airport has also been closed down for security reasons. Both cargo handling agents and customs officials have ceased operations. As a result, no cargo can enter or leave the cargo area, resulting in significant impact to airfreight operations. Expect potential delays in cargo clearance. In case of urgent inbound cargo with final destination Brussels, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport can be considered as an alternative destination airport.
Heightened security at other European airports
Security has also been increased at airports across Europe, including in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Finland.
The United Kingdom’s Home Office, following a government crisis meeting, announced earlier that security has been heightened at main transportation hubs including London Heathrow and Gatwick airports. In the Netherlands, extra police and military officials will be visible at all airports, railway stations and key locations across the country, especially in Amsterdam.
Local media sources in Germany are reporting that increased security measures have been implemented at Frankfurt Airport following the terror attacks in Brussels. It is believed that armed police officers have been deployed at the airport’s terminals. As a result of the airport closure in the Belgian capital, flights destined for Brussels are currently being accepted at the airport facility.
Increased security measures have been reported at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport as well. It is believed that the military and federal police have been deployed to all eight terminals to maintain passenger security at this time. It is unclear if the same measures have been implemented at Paris Orly Airport.
Local security officials in Austria have confirmed that they have been deployed to Vienna Airport following the attacks in Brussels. Armed officers have been seen within the terminals and outside the facility. It remains unclear if any other airports in Austria have upped their security levels.
Border closures & security across France, Belgium and UK
As of this morning, the French-Belgian border has been closed. The duration of the border closure has not been immediately indicated. French media sources have also reported that security at other French border points has been heightened due to today’s terrorist attacks. Additional police officers have been deployed at the frontier and sensitive public areas such as transport hubs. No further details have been released at this time.
As precautionary measures, the UK has also tightened its borders with Belgium and France and has announced that it is taking steps to intensify efforts at the UK-Belgian and UK-French border. This includes enhanced searching of inbound tourist vehicles, additional opening of car boots / transit vans, a heightened Border Force presence at ports, targeted Border Force presence at specific ports, with additional security checks on some flights and specialist search dogs deployed at key ports including St Pancras and Dover.
Rail traffic disruptions
Eurostar services between London and Brussels have been suspended due to the ongoing security incident in the Belgium capital, and will remain suspended until further notice. SNCB/NMBS train stations are also closed. Starting at 4pm local time, limited train services may resume at South and BXL North stations.
Thalys has suspended all of its services, which operates in France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Eurostar and Deutsche Bahn rail services have been canceled; all trains from Paris have also been suspended.
Breaking news reports from the Netherlands also indicate that police have been deployed to Hoofddorp Train Station, where an international train from Brussels has been stopped. Armed police and SWAT teams have been seen entering the transport terminal and a stationed rail service. It is believed all passengers have been evacuated and the authorities are currently assessing the unspecified threat.
In Paris, the Gare du Nord railway station has been closed due to a security alert, believed to be a suspicious item of luggage. The station will remain on heightened alert when it reopens as the terminal operates services to Brussels.