Brussels Airport: Innovation and enhanced passenger experience by 2040

ACI World by ACI World | Mar 1, 2018

With an extensive network of 238 direct passenger and cargo connections worldwide, Brussels Airport puts the heart of Europe within easy reach of worldwide destinations. With almost 25 million passengers in 2017, the airport hopes to set a new record this year.

In recent years, the Brussels Airport name has largely been associated with the terrorist attacks of March 2016. This coordinated attack at the airport and in central Brussels caused shock waves across the entire country, and in particular amongst airport employees and passengers. However, thanks to the unshakable strength of our airport family, Brussels Airport was quickly back on its feet.

That same year, CEO Arnaud Feist presented the Brussels Airport Vision 2040, which aims to prepare the airport for the growth that is anticipated over the next 25 years. The airport expects to increase passenger numbers in line with long-term market growth in Europe, anticipating an average of 3.8% annually for the next two decades. Cargo transport is expected to increase by 4.7% annually.

Passenger experience through the European capital

Brussels Airport wishes to provide passengers a unique airport experience, by not only making the passenger screening and boarding process as smooth as possible but also by offering a special sense of place.

With the construction of the Connector building and the refurbishment of the Pier B shopping and leisure zone, Brussels Airport will immerse passengers in the country’s culture one last time before they board their aircraft by offering an array of traditional Belgian flavours, identities and icons. This cultural immersion includes the exhibition of typical regional products, such as chocolate and beer, and our world-famous comic strip heroes, such as the Smurfs and Tintin. This makes Brussels Airport one of the most fun and tasteful airports around, for both small and big children!

Did you know? Brussels Airport is the largest chocolate outlet in the world. Two tons of chocolate are sold every day. That is a total of 1.5 kilos per minute or more than 800 tons per year.

New piers and other runway use

Looking to the future, Brussels Airport plans to further enhance its infrastructure by 2040. Among other plans, Brussels Airport has identified the opportunity to develop the new Pier A West during the 2020s. This development will accommodate up to 13 additional widebody aircrafts and bringing passengers to the next level of comfort.

Together with its industry partners, Brussels Airport plans to optimize the capacity of the airfield and airspace systems, enabling a progressive increase of peak runway system capacity from the current 74 hourly movements to 84 in 2020 and up to 93 in 2040.

Did you know? Within Europe, the growth potential is greatest for medium-sized hubs like Brussels Airport, which has not yet achieved its full potential. Capacity can still grow by 25%.

Redevelopment of the cargo zone

The Brussels Airport 2040 Strategic Vision redesigns and refurbishes the cargo zone as a modern logistics platform in order to further support key sectors in our economy, such as pharmaceuticals or biotechnology. The success of these sectors at Brussels Airport is closely linked to an active airport community and an innovative logistics chain.

Investment in the renewed cargo zone is already starting this year with the redevelopment of existing handling facilities that have direct access to the tarmac and the construction of 50,000 square metres of brand new office and storage space. This zone will accommodate those companies that transport, package and store freight. Among other things, this new infrastructure will be particularly suited to the handling of high-quality and temperature-sensitive goods.

Did you know? Brussels Airport is the world leader in the transportation of pharmaceutical goods. In 2017, the transport of these delicate products increased by 18% at Brussels Airport. The increase was 2% worldwide.

Easy mobility

The ambitious development of Brussels Airport is attracting more and more companies outside of aviation. . Deloitte Belgium moved last year to a state-of-the-art office building at the airport. KPMG and Microsoft, among many more, will do so by the end of this 2018. This movement is in line with global trends that are increasingly showing that companies choose to house their offices at or near airports because of easy mobility. Within its Vision 2040, Brussels Airport is set on an ambitious development of a prestigious and modern business district.

This business district also includes a further development of the intermodal transport hub Brussels Airport already has for its region. The airport is working actively with different public transport companies to increase direct connections to the airport and to further develop the airport as an intermodal hub for the entire region. More trains, buses and a new tram line are on the agenda.

By 2040, the airport intends for 50% of passengers and airport employees to travel to Brussels Airport by public transport or bicycle. By merging these transport modes at one strategic location, Brussels Airport is actively contributing to improved mobility around Brussels.

The Brussels Airport Vision 2040 unlocks the potential of an additional 10,000 jobs over the next five years and will add a total of 60,000 jobs by 2040. It is crucial that this growth is achieved via a balanced approach that considers both the economic development of the airport and as well as the environmental sustainability.

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