American 767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4639 posts, RR: 12 Posted (14 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4584 times:
I just watched the news this evening on RTL, a Belgian television channel, and they were talking about the new concourse A to open sometimes next month or the summer at the latest. I think that the new concourse will accomodate charter flights. They were testing the new facilities by announcing boarding on a fake Virgin Express flight and giving fake tickets to some employee at the airport, the boarding passes still had to be treated manually. That's a technical problem still to be solved but other than that, everything seemed to be OK.
Brussels National Airport does have a bright future in the years to come. It just went under a deep crisis, as you may know especially if you live in Brussels, going through two tragedies: the Sept 11 attacks and two months later Belgium lost its wings, in other words Sabena went out of business. The passanger figures in recent statistics have declined by some 40%. But now, the skies are getting clear in Belgium. VLM, which always flew out of Antwerp, now has an office at Brussels Airport. SN Brussels Airlines started recently, so did Thomas Cook, and VG Airlines is coming up. Flights to Africa are expected to restart in April. All of that is gradually going to compensate Sabena's bankrupcy.
Lhb From Belgium, joined Mar 2001, 41 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (14 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4515 times:
Effectively, the inauguration of this new concourse (Pier A) is foreseen for the 15th May, this new concourse will accomodate Schengen flights and will replace the old concourse (Pier C) built in 1958 for the international expo.
Normally, the old C concourse had to be refurbished in the coming months/years but with bad BIAC's statistics, this project is postponed...
Established02 From Belgium, joined Jan 2002, 536 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (14 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4512 times:
> the new concourse A to open sometimes next month or the summer at the latest.
The opening of Terminal A is announced for May 15th. In the departure hall -where you take the escalators to Pizza Hut and the other restaurants upstairs- there is this huge BIAC advertisement (10m x 5m) announcing the opening of the new Terminal. The ad shows a cup of coffee and on top of the long swirling coffee vapour you see a small jet. Nice Ad.
> I think that the new concourse will accomodate charter flights.
Terminal A is destined for all flights originating from & departing for Schengen-countries. This may include charter flights as well.
> They were testing the new facilities by announcing boarding on a fake Virgin Express flight
BIAC has contracted Interim Agency "Randstad Interim" to provide 1600 dummy passengers, to test the facilities before the actual opening of the terminal on May 15th. There is a test session every Tuesday and Thursday and each time BIAC wants to check various aspects of the facilities, in cooperation with the airlines.
This week I have been participating to two of these test sessions, together with 80 other people (housewives, students, pensioneers, anybody,...). All participants get an airport badge and a boarding pass for a fictional flight (AZ, LH, VEX, SN, ...). They just have to walk -like future passengers will- from the check-in zone, through customs and finally to the gate in the new terminal A. It's a pretty long walk, but fortunately there are escalators to bring you two levels down, moving carpets to move you through a long tunnel and again escalators to bring you two levels up again.
For now BIAC is testing with about 4 gates (A45, A47, A49, A51) and each time Globeground, Alitalia, SNBA and VEX are sending their check-in staff to see if everything works fine.
> and giving fake tickets to some employee at the airport
Actually, I was boarding this "fake" Virgin Express flight. My boarding pass for flight T0S 3002 was on the name of Bond / James. During "the job" I was approached by a RTL-TVi crew. They interviewed me (in French) and asked me about my impressions about the new facilities. I said the new infrastructure looked great and that it will be very valuable for Brussels and Belgium. I dind't see the RTL-TVi program, but perhaps you actually saw me on TV (an ordinary fellow with a khaki-green jacket and a blue backpack).
> the boarding passes still had to be treated manually.
The VEX team did the boarding manually for some reason, however the other machines worked properly.
> everything seemed to be OK.
There is still a lot of work to be done to finish up everything. There are still hundreds of workers working at all corners of the site. It may end up as a race against time to have everything ready and spotless by May 15th.
I had some interesting talks with several BIAC people. One of them pointed me to to the state of the art speakers that had been installed for every pair of gates. These speakers are about 4 meters tall by 20 cm and they provide an excellent sound quality.
Another fancy introduction are the big flat-screen monitors (1,20 meter by 50 cm), which display the flight information. The BIAC person didn't want to tell me the exact price, but I understood it was up to 120.000 EUR for just one of these screens. I guess there will be a few dozens of these screens around, therefore => $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. The total price tag of the new infrastructure would be roughly about 250.000.000 EUR (10 billion BEF). The collapse of Sabena and therefore the loss of income for BIAC must have been painful thing to digest.
The architects of Terminal A have used a lot of glass. This means that passengers can clearly see their aircraft before boarding. You have a view on Terminal B on the south side and on Runway 25R on the north side. Terminal A creates new opportunities for (travelling) spotters. You can see the planes at Brucargo, the LH Technics facilities, the military site, the ATC tower, runway 02-20,... You can see the planes rotate within a very close distance, but you hardly hear anything. It's great to have all these big windows, but I'm just wondering how often BIAC will be able to clean them. Furthermore because of the curved shape of the windows, there is an extra difficulty for cleaning.
By the way, somewhere at the ongoing exposition on the history of Brussels Airport, I read that Aviapartner employee & Journalist (?) Frans Van Humbeek will present a new book on the Brussels Airport and on Belgian aviation, right at the opening of Terminal A on May 15th.
PS: This morning I saw EC commissioner Romani Prodi entering the airport facilities through a side entrance of the '58 building. He must be a very frequent flyer out of Brussels. I saw him passing by in a grey Mercedes (with a green-red CD plate), while he was concentrated on some papers. Later in the evening I saw him on the news, presiding over some kind of conference somewhere in Europe. I guess flying and travelling is not so much fun any more for these kind of people.
Established02 From Belgium, joined Jan 2002, 536 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (14 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4450 times:
I noticed another interesting feature to the new Terminal A. Well, at least it's new to me.
At the right side of each jetway there is some kind of swirling glide path (in Dutch: een kronkelende glijbaan), similar to -but much smaller than- the ones you see in these fancy swimming pools at Six Flags or Bruparck.
There is a small gate (in Dutch: een rolluik) in the jetway which can be opened from inside and then you can throw things down this glide path.
Initially I thought that this glide path was perhaps an emergency evacuation exit for passengers. Surely kids would love to play on them anytime. Or perhaps these glide paths could be used by the cabin cleaning to smoothly send down their plastic bags with used newspapers and garbage, instead of just dropping them on the tarmac.
However a BIAC person told me that these things would be exclusively used to send excessive carry-on luggage from the cabin down to the belly cargo space. Transfer passengers often have too much carry-on luggage with them and for those instances there is a need to quickly move this luggage down.
It may look like an expensive gadget, but perhaps the check-in staff will be very happy to use this new equipment.
Mls515 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3081 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (14 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4409 times:
I was at BRU on Tuesday and I got a good look at the new concourse. It looks nice with all the glass. I like how even the jetway have glass walls, a nice touch. Passengers in this terminal in the late morning will get a good look at all the 767s heading for America: UA, AA, CO, DL.
Redcap From Belgium, joined Mar 2002, 37 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (14 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4389 times:
yeah , the new A terminal will be opened soon . Pictures of the out and inside ( of a few weeks ago ) to get an idea what it will look about can be seen on http://fly.to/airportpictures , in the album : new terminal A in preview.