Terrorist attack disrupts Brussels Airlines operations


Brussels Airlines Avro RJ100 OO-DWC

Brussels Airlines Avro RJ100 OO-DWC shares the ramp at Antwerpen with a VLM Fokker 50 and Jetairfly Embraer 190, itself relocated to Antwerpen (VLM)

Brussels Airlines‘ operations were severely disrupted by a terrorist attack on its namesake airport. Terrorists detonated several bombs in the departure hall of Bruxelles’ Zaventem Airport in the morning of 22 March, killing 17 and injuring 81 people, some of whom later succumbed to their wounds; another attack took place an hour later in a metro station in town. Following the attack, the airport was closed indefinitely. At the time, two of the airline’s twelve Avro RJ100s (OO-DWI and -DWK) were at the airport; their flights were cancelled. Another (OO-DWJ) was at Berlin Tegel, having operated the early morning flight from Bruxelles; her return was cancelled. The nine others were all inbound to Bruxelles from a variety of European cities, having overnighted there after their evening flights out. OO-DWF, who had just departed from Basel, returned there. The eight others diverted to other Belgian airports: OO-DWA, -DWC, and DWG diverted to Ostend; OO-DWB and -DWE to Liège; and OO-DWH and -DWL to Antwerpen. On the following day, all the stranded aircraft were ferried back to Bruxelles under SN99xx flight numbers. The only other RJ100 flight that day was undertaken by OO-DWA, who ferried to Zürich in the evening to pick up the crews of several Brussels Airlines A330s who were being flown there from Africa. She returned to Bruxelles early the following day. By that time, with Zaventem still closed, Brussels Airlines had decided to relocate as many as possible of the airline’s aircraft to nearby airports to conduct at least a minimal schedule. Under this plan, five RJ100s would be based at Antwerpen and ten Airbus A319/A320s at Liège — the most that either airport could accommodate, as several other airlines had also relocated their operations. OO-DWB, -DWC, -DWD, -DWE, -DWG, and -DWI were all ferried to Antwerpen during the morning, and all but -DWD then operated two roundtrips each that afternoon. The RJ100s will operate from Antwerpen at least through Sunday 27 March, but may stay there longer if Zaventem remains closed.

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