Brussels International Airport
The Brussels International Airport, which is also known as Brussel Nationaal, Bruxelles-National, Brussel-Zaventem and Brussels National, is a major airport in Belgium. The airport is located around 11 km north east of Brussels, partially in Zavente, partially in the Diegem area of Machelen, and partially in Steenokkerzeel, in the Flemish Region of Belgium. In the year 2013, the airport catered to 19 million passengers, making it the 25th busiest airport in Europe. The Brussels International airport is managed by the Brussels Airport Company. The airport has been in existence since the year 1940 when it was used as back-up airfield "Steenokkerzeel" by the Germans. The Luftwaffe, the aerial branch of German Wehrmacht, established their Fliegerhorst Melsbroek and constructed 3 runways in the shape of a triangle.
After the liberation of Germany in the year 1944, the British took charge of the area and by 1948 a new terminal was constructed and since then the airport has been constantly expanded and upgraded to suit the requirement of the passengers. The Brussels Airport follows a one-terminal concept where in all the facilities, except Pier A, is available under a single roof. The terminal has several levels – level 0 is for buses and taxi arrivals, level 1 has a railway station, level 2 is dedicated to arrivals and departure facilities are available on level 3. Level 2 at the Brussels airport is connected to Pier A as well as B.
There are 2 departure halls wherein the main departure hall is used by all the airlines except Jetairfly and Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium which use the 2ndsmaller departure hall. There are a total of 109 gates, out of which 54 are contact gates. Opened on 15th May 2002, the Pier A on the Brussels airport was scheduled to support flights from and to the Schengen countries. However, since March 2008, flights to African destinations are also being handled at this pier. The Pier B is the older of the two piers and handles flights from destination other than that of the Schengen countries. Connected immediately to the main departure hall, the upper deck is for departing passengers and lower deck is for arriving passengers and connect immediately to border control and baggage claim area. The plan of expansion of Pier A west and construction of low-cost pier is underway. There are numerous shops, dining areas, restaurants, bars and provision of duty free shopping available at both Pier A and B.