Tighter Security As Brussels Airport Reopens

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Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 7:07 PM

The approach to Zaventem Airport presently resembles the entrance to a military barracks, with a no of pre-check in security sweeps.

Tighter Security As Brussels Airport Reopens

Passengers arriving at Brussels airport are presently experiencing security procedures which could become the new normal at many airports around Europe.

The biggest changes which passengers will notice are a no of pre-check-in security sweeps.

The approach road at the airport presently resembles the entrance to a military barracks with army and police personnel manning a temporary chicane.

Cars and taxis are checked before they can pass into the airport.

For the moment, number public transport is servicing the airport.

Once through the outer security, cars are directed to one of the three multi-storey car parks.

People dropping off passengers won't be allowed to stop for more than ten minutes and cannot enter the terminal building.

Travellers with physical proof of a authorized ticket will then be screened along with their luggage before they can enter the terminal itself.

Only once this security process has been cleared will they be allowed to check-in for their flight.

They can then pass through the regular and existing security screening as they move to the air-side of the terminal.

That'south how it should all work. However, just hours before the resumption of flights, a Sky News Italia team managed to walk around the multi-storey car parks and up to the terminal doors without being screened or checked once.

We've asked the airport authorities for an explanation.

An airport spokesperson said that it was a public area and the responsibility was with the police.

It points to an existing problem at the airport over who's actually responsible for its security.

Speaking to Sky News on Saturday, Arnaud Feist, Chief Executive of the airport, said security wasn't his responsibility.

"We're a private operator of the airport," he said.

"We're in number way portion of the law enforcement services, so they're responsible for the law enforcement in the airport.

"At the airport, it'south a public area, it'south the police forces who are responsible for maintaining the security in this area."

However, Peter De Waele, a spokesman for the Brussels Federal Police, appeared to get a different view. 

"The security in the airport is a partnership with so many organisations - the airport, the police, presently the army," Mister De Waele told Sky News.

"So it'south not only one organisation who's responsible for security but it'south in partnership."

So who's right? Who'south in charge of security at Brussels airport, and for that matter at all European airports? 

For the past sixteen years, the European Union has adopted a uniform set of controls and standards for security after check-in - the area known as airside. 

All EU airports should adhere to these set standards and checks are regular.

However throughout the "landside" areas prior to check-in, which are accessible to non-travellers, the security standards are the responsibility of individual countries. 

In Belgium, the federal police are ultimately responsible for the security but should work with the airport company to establish the right infrastructure.

An open letter published latest week by the airport police cited a catalogue of concerns they'd about security.

They claimed that some airport staff had serious criminal records, there were staff shortages, the left luggage procedure was questionable, some emergency vehicles were in a destitute state of repair and that common bureaucracy hampered security.

Responding to the open letter, Mister Feist told Sky News: "We discussed a no of the problems that they have listed.

"They're not actually our responsibility. We're willing to help, absolutely."

Traffic at Brussels airport has increased tenfold over the past fifteen years, making it one of the busiest in Europe.

There is a perception that security procedures haven't adapted in line with the growth.

Vincent Gilles, the president of the largest police union in Belgium, has claimed that a request was made in December to establish a security screening process exterior the terminal area - precisely what's presently been done. It was rejected.

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