Brussels Airport – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Brussels Airport is a single terminal facility and the main entry point by air into Belgium. It is the hub for a number of passenger and cargo airlines including Brussels Airlines, the national flag carrier. It is located to the north-east of the city, just outside of the city’s ring road. In 2011 the airport received 18,786,034 passengers (an increase of over 1.6 million from the previous year).
The original terminal (shown in the above image) was built in the mid-1950s in preparation for the 1958 World Fair that Brussels was hosting. It was the first major global Expo since World War II and it was recognised that the number of visitors travelling to Brussels would be great.
Although replaced in 1994 by a new terminal, the building remains and is the first thing that visitors see after landing. It gives the surreal impression that one has travelled back in time and arrived in the 1950s at an airport somewhere in the far east of the Soviet Union.
Thankfully for travellers the airport is not a complete visual nightmare as Pier A, built in 2002, is a bright and stylish building used mainly as the departure point to destinations within the Schengen Zone.