Brussels Airport asks for dozens of extra agents to tackle long border control queues

The aviation police at Brussels Airport, which is responsible for border controls, is structurally understaffed, leading to long queues at border controls. In a memorandum, the airport operator asks the federal government for more than 100 additional officers.

In 2023, according to the airport operator, there was a shortfall of more than 30 per cent, the equivalent of 183 full-time employees.

"This leads to excessive congestion at border controls, delays and even passengers missing their flights," the memorandum reads. "This problem jeopardises the hub operation for intercontinental flights and also prevents airlines from opening new routes to Brussels."

Two-hour queues

On Wednesday, Het Nieuwsblad reported on a peak moment when waiting times at border control recently reached two hours. This was an exceptional occurrence, according to the airport. "The average waiting time is 10 to 20 minutes," a spokesperson said.

Brussels Airport is calling on the government to "fully staff the air police". Additional staff will also be needed when the new European Entry/Exit System (EES), with central registration and biometric verification of all non-EU citizens, comes into force in a few months' time.

"The handling time per non-EU passenger by the federal police will increase structurally and significantly," the airport said.

Brussels Airport is Belgium's largest passenger airport, handling 22.2 million passengers in 2023.



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