Terrorist attacks close Brussels Airport

Brussels-bigFollowing terrorist attacks that killed at least 30 people and injured more than 200 hundred at Brussels Airport and the Maelbeek Metro station, all flights and other operations,  including cargo, have been cancelled, at least for the day, according to a statement from the airport.

“On behalf of the entire airport community, I would like to extend our warmest condolences to the family and friends of the victims of these cowardly and heinous acts,” said Brussels Airport CEO Arnaud Feist. “I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the emergency and rescue services, passengers and staff for their compassion, solidarity and help. This is, without doubt, the blackest day in the history of Brussels Airport.”

The entire airport has been evacuated to give the police and prosecutors space for a meticulous investigation into the explosions. Until the investigation is complete, nobody is allowed to enter the departure hall, including airport staff. Airport officials said the airport will remain closed at least through Wednesday of this week, but it is unknown when operations at the airport will resume.

Brussels Airlines canceled 190 flights scheduled for Tuesday and diverted another 15 incoming flights to other nearby hubs, reported CNN. Roughly 20,000 Brussels Airlines passengers were affected.

Lufthansa said 25 flights to and from Brussels had been canceled, affecting the travel plans of about 2,000 passengers, CNN said, and two other flights en route to Brussels at the time of the attacks were diverted to Liège and Cologne. Air France said one of its flights left from BRU early this morning but the rest had been canceled, as were all five of KLM’s scheduled flights for Tuesday.

Dozens of other flights were either canceled or diverted by other airlines, such as Aegean, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Easyjet, Emirates, Ryanair and United. Some offered refunds to passengers.

Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has claimed responsibility for the attacks, Reuters reported. At press time, 10 of the victims were confirmed dead at the airport, and 20 more were killed at the metro station. Ninety-two people were injured at the airport, and 106 were injured in the metro blast. The attacks came four days after Brussels police captured the prime surviving suspect in the attacks by ISIS in Paris last November.

Messages of condolence have come in from several air carriers, including American Airlines. “American is taking care of employees and customers at Brussels Airport,” the airline said. “At this time, all of our airport employees and crew members are safe and accounted for with no reported injuries. American Airlines check-in operates at Row 8 of the departure hall, and the explosions did not occur at Row 8.”

United Airlines said that “the United family is deeply saddened by the tragedies in Brussels earlier today, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. The safety of our customers and crew remains our top priority, and all of our employees are safe and accounted for at this time.”

“As part of running a global airline, our teams are in constant contact with authorities in Brussels and were able to immediately go into action this morning on behalf of our employees and customers,” said Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian in a statement. “We’re grateful to our employees in the operation who are supporting re-accommodations and diversions.”

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