A lot of important things take place in Brussels like the gathering of world leaders at large summits. So there are times in the year when, if you want to head here, you’re going to need to either be a big airline who always heads there, or you’ll need to be carrying someone pretty important.
Now, we don’t want to waffle on about it, but if you want to avoid saying “van DAMME, it’s full!” then here are some dates to look out for, and some contacts and info to help you organise your flight well in advance.
The Triple Summits in March
The European Council will be meeting March 23-25 for their EU Summit. At the same time, NATO folk will also be joining in. We aren’t really sure what the “third” of the triple is – presumably non EU and non NATO folk as well, given all the important stuff that’s be happening.
Brussels hosts a lot of summits. The African Summit already took place (in February). Then there is a big Sustainability Summit is planned for November 8-10, the 360/Open Summit June 6-7 that focuses on things like Human Rights and global policy. There is even a summit on packaging (yep, boxes) taking place in May…
With the exception of ones like the Packaging summit, most of these involve leaders from around the world attending which means several things for you…
The several things it might mean for you.
- Parking restrictions
- Heightened Security Measures
- Ground restrictions.
This only really applies if you want to go for a site-seeing trip into Brussels. Areas around the major government buildings and spots where Summits are taking place will be cordoned off, and there will be a big increase in security. Plan ahead and check good ol’ Google Maps for traffic jams.
Eurocontrol are pretty good when it comes to traffic flow management, however, you may find more slots and delays on the ground during peak hours (peak at the airport, but also in the general Eurocontrol airspace) as they manage the flow across Europe.
On the ground, obviously. Coming through the airport ensure you have ID, passports etc, and double check those crew bags for rogue liquids or random weapon-like objects (not a joke – once flew with a Captain whose kid had loaded a bunch of hammers and spanners into his flight case without him noticing).
Aircraft ramp checks, random security checks, and things like that may also increase so just be prepared, double check paperwork is in order, and expect some minor disruptions.
When the likes of the US president lands, a stop on all other movements isn’t unlikely, so be prepared to experience increased holding. It might be worth carrying a few extra drops of fuel for, just in case.
OK, this is the one you’re waiting for.
During the upcoming summit, Brussels won’t be available as a diversion airport or planned alternate airport (except for absolute emergencies.) Notam A0854/22 is the one to read.
While it does have a fair number of parking stands, but it also has a fair old number of airlines regularly heading in and out, and during the Summit, the majority of ‘spare’ stands will be unavailable due to VIP jets (and security).
If you want to fly in and drop folk off, you’ll need to arrange a slot and permits. If you want parking you’ll definitely need to talk to an agent in advance. You can try these folk for slots and the Belgium CAA for your permits: +32 2 277 43 49 / firstname.lastname@example.org
What alternates and other options are there?
Brussels is sort of near a lot of places in Europe. And one of the best things about this region is just how easy it is to take the train between major cities. So these are just some of the more local airports to consider, there are plenty more!
- EBAW/Antwerp International This is a small international airport. Runway 11/29 is only 4954’ (1510m) with an ILS to 29 and an RNP to 11.
- EBCI/Charleroi Just south of Brussels City (and also known as Brussels South), you may see restrictions here as well so confirm in advance with your agent. Runway 06/24 is 10,023’ (3055m) but there is a big dis[;aced threshold here so watch out.
- EBOS/Oostende-Brugge A decent sized international airport, you’ll find 10,499’ (3200m) runway 08/26 with CAT I ILS.
- LFQQ/Lille Lequin Just over the border in France, Lille is a medium sized international airport with a 9268’ (2825m) runway 08/26 with CAT II/III available onto 26, and a shorter runway 01/19
- EHBK/Maastricht This is only a regional airport but it has a decent 9022’ (2750m) runway 03/21
- EHRD/Rotterdam Over in the Netherlands, Rotterdam’s runway 06/24 is 7218’ (2200m) with ILS CAT I
- EBLG/Liege A very decent sized airport, with a 10,784′ (3287m) runway
- EHEH/Eindhoven This offers a 9843′ (3278m) runway
General things to know about Brussels.
It is a busy airport year round and slots and handling are both mandatory. The airport does operate H24.
- RFF CAT 10
- Runways: 07L/25R 11936’ (3638m) / 07R/25L 10,535’ (3211m) / 01/09 9800’ (2987m)
- Approaches CAT II/III 25L and 25R
Some handy contacts for you:
- Airport Admin +32 2 753 42 00
- AviaPartner FBO +32 2 723 06 97 / email@example.com
- Execujet FBO +32 2 720 58 80 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Swissport Handling +32 2 788 31 33 / email@example.com
Airport Spy Reports?
A lot, all generally good and mention efficient ATC and handling. OPSGROUP members can read these here.
- It is a busy airport, with busy airspace. Speed and altitude restrictions are worth looking at before hand as these are usually applied.
- The platform altitude is fairly low – 2000’
- There are a lot of restricted areas around the airport, and they also apply strict NABT.
We put together a little Airport Lowdown which you can check out here.
Don’t forget to register for this. Brussels is in the Schengen Area and is part of the EU.
More on the topic:
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- More: Europe tightens restrictions for US travellers
- More: Europe: Where can I fly with vaccinated pax?
- More: UK: No more LPV approaches after June
- More: Brace Yourselves: Brexit is Coming