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How attacks at Zaventem airport in Brussels will change air travel

Danny Boyle

Latest on the number of dead and injured

Local media are reporting that 13 people have been killed in the airport blasts, with 81 others injured.

That brings the number of dead in both attacks to 28 and the wounded to 136.

Here’s a quick recap on how we understand that breaks down:

  • Zaventum airport bomb attacks: 13 killed and 81 injured
  • Metro bomb attack: 15 killed and 55 injured, 10 of them critcally

11:33

Hollande: ‘The fight against terror will be long’

François Hollande, the French President, has given a Press conference in which he said “France and Belgium are linked through horror”.

He said: “Terrorism has struck Belgium and the whole of Europe is targeted.

“We need to take the full measure of the threat. The fight against terror will be long.”

11:21

Heightened security around the world after attacks

These are the latest images reaching us from transport hubs around Europe, where security has been stepped up in the wake of the Brussels attacks.

A armed policewoman gestures in Frankfurt AirportA armed policewoman gestures in Frankfurt Airport  Photo: AFP/Getty

Police officers walk past as a group of travelers stand together, after services were suspended on the Brussels Eurostar train route because of the attacks in BelgiumPolice officers walk past as a group of travelers stand together, after services were suspended on the Brussels Eurostar train route because of the attacks in Belgium  Photo: AP

Armed police patrols in Copenhagen Airport, on March 22, 2016, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Armed police patrols in Copenhagen Airport  Photo: AFP/Getty

The military police carries extra patrols at Schiphol Airport in AmsterdamThe military police carries extra patrols at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam  Photo: AFP/Getty

Spanish national police officers stand guard at the Adolfo Suarez-Barajas T4 airport terminal as the security measures were increased following terror attacks in Brussels, in Madrid, Spain, 22 March 2016. Spanish national police officers stand guard at the Adolfo Suarez-Barajas T4 airport terminal in Madrid  Photo: EPA

11:19

Isil network also ‘planning attacks in Germany’

Salah Abdeslam, the suspected Isil terrorist arrested in Brussels on Friday, was planning attacks in Germany, reports Justin Huggler in Berlin.

Abdeslam was part of an Isil network set up “explicitly” to carry out attacks on countries including Germany, an unnamed security source told Tagesspiegel newspaper.

The network had around 30 members, and was divided into three separate cells, according to the report, which was published before Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels.

Many members of the first cell were killed in a US air strike on Raqqa in Syria, while the second carried out last November’s Paris attacks.

A third cell was still at large. It is not clear whether this cell may be behind the Brussels attacks.

Abdeslam visited three men posing as Syrian refugees in Germany last October, before the Paris attacks, according to a report by Germany’s SWR radio.

The three were staying at a refugee shelter in Ulm, in southern Germany. After Abdeslam’s visit they disappeared.

11:14

Mapped: Where Brussels airport bombs went off

11:11

Boris Johnson: No intelligence of imminent plan against London

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has said there is “no intelligence that suggests there’s any imminent plan against this city”

He added: We are stepping up a presence at transport hubs and major airports, but that is purely for the purpose of reassurance and does not reflect any intelligence we have about a threat to London.”

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police said they have also increased patrols in the wake of the Brussels attacks.

11:08

Security tightened at nuclear plants in Belgium

Belgium security forces have tightened security at nuclear plants across the country after the deadly attacks.

“Surveillance is stepped up with added security measures at nuclear plants,” the agency reported. “Vehicles are being checked with police and army on site.”

In February, investigators probing the Paris attacks found video footage of a senior Belgian nuclear official at the property of a key suspect.

11:03

Who are the likely suspects behind these attacks?

Two suspected terrorists named by Belgian police as accomplices to November’s Paris attacks are likely to be the focus of investigations as to who was responsible for the triple blasts at Brussel’s airports and metros.

Najim Laachraoui and Mohamed Abrini are still on the run following police raids that led to the capture of Salah Abdeslam, the lead Paris attacker, in Brussels on Friday.

One theory is that they may have launched Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels on the assumption that police interrogation of Abdeslam would have given police leads as to their own whereabouts.

Peter Foster and Colin Freeman have more details here.

10:56

French PM: ‘We are at war’

At a press conference, Mr Michel called the attacks “blind, violent and cowardly”.

He added: “We must face this challenge in solidarity, united, together.”

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has described the Brussels bombings as an “act of war”.

“We are facing a particularly serious threat. We are at war. In Europe we have been subject for several months to acts of war.”

10:51

Belgian PM: Dozens killed and wounded

Charles Michel, the Belgian Prime Minister, is giving a Press conference and has confirmed that there are “dozens dead and wounded”.

Meanwhile, the Metro explosion killed 15 and injured 55 – 10 critically – transport operator STIB told Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

Around 11 people are believed to have died in the airport explosions, bringing to death toll to an estimated 26. Thirty-five others have been injured at the airport.

Meanwhile, French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said the France-Belgian border is not closed despite earlier reports.

10:47

Blown-out Metro carriage where ’10 killed’

Here is the first image from inside the Metro train, which was left a charred wreck after an explosion outside Maelbeek station in Brussels.

Around 10 people are believed to have been killed in this blast, around an hour after two explosions at Zaventem.

Firefighters have said the death toll from both attacks is 21, but this could rise.

Damaged train carriage at Maalbeek Metro station in BrusselsThe train carriage damaged after the explosion at Maalbeek Metro station in Brussels  Photo: Corbis

10:44

Bomb disposal experts blow up suspicious package

A new explosion in Rue de la Loi is thought to be from bomb disposal experts blowing up a suspicious package, reports Henry Samuel.

10:34

Tusk: Attacks mark another low by terrorists

European Council president Donald Tusk said the bombings represented “another low” from the terrorists.

He said: “I am appalled by the bombings this morning at Zaventem airport and the European district in Brussels which have cost several innocent lives and injured many others.

“I extend my sincerest sympathies to the relatives and friends of the victims. These attacks mark another low by the terrorists in the service of hatred and violence.

“The European institutions are hosted in Brussels thanks to the generosity of Belgium’s government and its people. The European Union returns this solidarity now and will fulfil its role to help Brussels, Belgium and Europe as a whole counter the terror threat which we are all facing.”

10:27

Extra 1,600 police to be deployed around France

Some 1,600 extra police to be deployed around France to stations, airports and borders, says Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister. An extra 400 will be deployed in Paris.

10:20

‘The floor collapsed and glass fell like rocks’

Here is more from our Brussels Correspondent Matthew Holehouse, who is in the airport:

Cedric vander Swalm, 20, an JetAir employee, was flying to London. The explosion took place on the floor above him.

His face is smeared in soot. He pressed the button of the lift and as he was about to step in to go up, the explosion struck.

An injured man outside Brussels airport An injured man outside Brussels airport   Photo: AP

“The lift had been full of people and it came back down for me,” he said.

“I was going in the elevator and there was a big explosion above me and the doors came off. The floor above me collapsed and the glass was falling like rocks.”

A woman is evacuated in an ambulance by emergency services A woman is evacuated in an ambulance by emergency services   Photo: AP

The whole tiny village of Zaventem is flooded with passengers as they empty out the airport.

Some are being taken to a sports hall, but many are just sitting on garden walls with their luggage, unsure of where to go or how to get home.

The scene close to Brussels Airport, BelgiumThe scene close to Brussels Airport, Belgium  Photo: Anthony Barrett/PA

A British woman who asked not to be named said: “I saw one man and then the explosion. I saw him again and his face was scraped out and debris was everywhere.”

10:12

‘It was like an earthquake’: Witnesses tell of scene of devastation

Philippe Lenaerts, an airport taxi driver, told Le Libre Belgique newspaper how he heard the terrifying explosions at Brussels airport and rushed inside to help, reports Patrick Sawer.

He said: “I heard the first explosion on the charter side and I thought a construction crane had collapsed. But two three minutes later, there was another one , but from the departures section, on the other side of the building.

Monsieur Lenaerts, who was with his taxi outside decided to go into the building to see what had happened.

“I went with a colleague. Everything was blown apart, there was a pool of blood with wounded people and a dismembered body . Everyone was running out, in a panic,” he said.

The taxi driver said the emergency services appeared to take an age to arrive.

“There wasn’t a single cop, not a single paramedic for minutes when we are in level 3. It was typical Belgian organisation,” He said.

An airport cleaner described the deafening noise of the blast, saying the ground shook beneath him.

Adamo, 43, said: “I was busy working when I heard the first explosion shook the ground under our feet , the noise was deafening People were screaming , there was blood . The passengers were led to shelters and evacuated by the emergency exits. It was like an earthquake.”

The cleaner said he had not been trained in what to do in the event of large-scale attack in the airport. “We know how to evacuate the airport when an incident occurs, but not an attack,” he told Belgian media.

10:09

Extra soldiers sent in to two Paris airports

Extra soldiers and police have been sent in to boost security in the two main Paris airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, reports Rory Mulholland in Paris.

Security has also been tightened in the Gare du Nord station in Paris, where Eurotunnel trains to London and Thalys trains to Brussels have been cancelled after the Brussels attacks.

10:06

All roads closed between France and Belgium

Libération newspaper is reporting that the border between France and Belgium has been closed to all traffic, including road traffic.

Meanwhiles, Brussels Airport issued a statement confirming that all flights have been cancelled for the rest of the day. Passengers are advised to contact their airline for further instructions.

10:01

Confirmed: At least 21 people killed

At least 21 people have been killed in the attacks on Brussels airport and Metro system, firefighters have told the AFP news agency.

10:00

UK terror threat level remains at ‘severe’

The official threat to the UK from international terrorism currently stands at severe – indicating that an attack is “highly likely”.

It has been at that level since August 2014 and has not changed this morning. However, the terror threat level in Belgium has now been raised to its highest level.

09:58

Belgium’s deputy PM: Avoid making phone calls

Alexander De Croo, the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, has urged residents to avoid phone calls as the mobile networks are getting “saturated”:

Meanwhile, the Thalys train service – which travels between France, Belgium and the Netherlands – has been halted in the wake of the explosions, the operator said.

09:53

British officials in Brussels told to avoid crowded places and public transport

Belgian broadcaster RTBF quoted a public prosecutor saying the airport explosion was a suicide attack.

The country’s prime minister Charles Michel tweeted: “For the moment, we are asking people to stay where they are.”

And British officials in Brussels are being advised by the Foreign Office to avoid crowded places and the public transport network

A spokesman for travel organisation Abta said British holidaymakers in Brussels should follow the instructions of the Belgian authorities, while those due to travel should contact their transport provider.

He added that although Belgium is a popular destination for UK visitors, March is “one of the quieter months for leisure travel”.

09:49

Video: Airport witnesses describe hearing blasts

09:44

Pictures show scene of devastation at airport

These are the latest pictures reaching us from Zaventem airport, where luggage is scene amid flames in a scene of devastation.

They were taken by Pavel Ohal, who took them directly after the bomb went off in the airport.

The scene at Brussels airport immediately after the explosionThe scene at Brussels airport immediately after the explosion  Photo: Pavel Ohal

Mr Ohal, who was travelling with his wife and son, aged two, said: “We were standing in line waiting to check in.

“There was a huge explosion and people fell down all around me. My papers blew out of my hands. I turned around and there was a fire on the floor and small fires all around. And a lot of very badly injured people.

“My son was cut in the head when the ceiling came down.”

The scene at Brussels airport immediately after the explosionThe scene at Brussels airport immediately after the explosion  Photo: Pavel Ohal

09:43

‘There was blood everywhere… it was a war scene’

Zach Mouzoun, who arrived on a flight from Geneva about 10 minutes before the first airport blast, told France’s BFM television that the second louder explosion brought down ceilings and ruptured pipes, mixing water with blood from victims.

“It was atrocious. The ceilings collapsed,” he said. “There was blood everywhere, injured people, bags everywhere.”

“We were walking in the debris. It was a war scene.”

09:41

American Airlines: All employees accounted for

The attack at Zaventem airport is believed to have been centred on the American Airlines departures desk.

An American Airlines spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident at the Brussels airport departure hall and are taking care of our customers, employees and contractors. At this time, all of our employees and contractors are accounted for with no reported injuries.

“American Airlines flight 751 has been cancelled for today. When operations at the airport resume, we will re-accommodate our customers.”

Passengers and airport staff console each other after being evacuated from the terminal building at Brussels airportPassengers and airport staff console each other after being evacuated from the terminal building at Brussels airport  Photo: EPA

Emergency services on the scene in BrusselsEmergency services on the scene in Brussels  Photo: Sky News

09:38

Local reports death toll has risen to 23

Belgian media is now reporting that 23 people have been killed in two separate attacks on the Brussels airport and Metro system.

09:28

Eurostar trains not stopping at Brussels

Eurostar has suspended all trains to and from Brussels in the wake of the attacks on Brussels – with passengers urged not to go to the station. Services are terminating at Lille.

A Eurostar spokesman said: “Our thoughts rest with anyone affected by the unfolding events in Brussels – we are closely monitoring and will update.”

09:17

Recap: Everything we know so far

At least 13 people are feared dead and many more have been injured after terrorist bomb attacks on the main airport and Metro system in Brussels this morning.

The coordinated attacks came as the Belgian capital was on a high level of alert following the arrest of Paris atrocity suspect Salah Abdeslam in the city last week.

There were unconfirmed reports of shots being fired and shouting in Arabic at the airport in what Belgian media said was a suicide attack.

At least one explosion hit the Metro system near a station close to European Union buildings.

Here, our Europe Editor Peter Foster brings us everything we know so far. Stay with us for the latest updates.

09:15

Latest pictures from Belgium’s Zaventem airport

The scene at Brussels Airport after two explosionsThe scene at Brussels Airport after two explosions  Photo: Stephanie Vanhemelryck/PA

Damage at Zaventem airport in BrusselsDamage at Zaventem airport in Brussels  Photo: XPOSUREPHOTOS.COM

Passengers are evacuated from Brussels AirportPassengers are evacuated from Brussels Airport  Photo: Corbis

09:12

Security increased at London’s Gatwick airport

Security has been increased at London Gatwick following the explosions in Brussels, an airport spokesman has confirmed.

An airport spokesman said the safety of passengers and staff was the “absolute priority”.

He added: “As a result of the terrible incidents in Brussels we have increased our security presence and patrols around the airport.”

Heathrow issued a statement which read: “In the light of events in Brussels airport we are working with the police at Heathrow who are providing a high visibility presence.”

09:08

PM to chair meeting of emergency Cobra committee

David Cameron has said he will chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee in response to the explosions in Brussels.

09:05

Death toll rises to 13

Belgian media is reported that at least 13 people are dead and 35 injured in the Brussels airport blasts.

09:04

Location of Brussels Metro blast

The Metro blast is believed to have happened on a train between two stations – located here in this map:

Explosion reported between Maalbeek and Schuman metro stationsExplosion reported between Maalbeek and Schuman metro stations

09:02

‘Explosion appeared to come from front of train’

A witness at Maelbeek station told Belgian broadcaster RTBF: “We left Maelbeek station towards the centre at around 9.07, 9.10, when we felt an explosion which appeared to come from the front of the train.

“The lights went off, there was panic given what happened at Brussels airport.

“The doors of the train were forced open to get off the train. There was a lot of smoke. We left via Maelbeek station. The glass doors were blown out. The explosion must have been violent.”

08:56

Images show injured passengers outside Metro

On the Metro, traveller Evan Lamos tweeted a picture of passengers climbing from his train into the tunnel, saying: “We are being evacuated from the back of the Metro, between Schuman and Maelbeek. Smoke in the tunnel as we evacuate.”

Treating the injured outside a Brussels Metro stationTreating the injured outside a Brussels Metro station

Maelbeek station is around 500 metres from the buildings of the European Parliament.

As well as the airport, the whole Metro system was closed after the attacks.

Schuman Metro station in Brussels closedSchuman Metro station in Brussels closed  Photo: @SofiaBettiza

Images on social media showed the injured being treated in the street.

08:51

‘They heard him shouting Arabic and they started shooting before this big explosion’

Stefanie Libeer was going down the lifts at the airport when the blasts struck, reports Matthew Holehouse in Brussels.

“Something stung my eye, then a flash, and a big explosion. It was like the ceiling was coming down. We just left our luggage and ran,” she said.

Friend Dimitri Kogout said: “I heard two noises, like shooting. Then right away we heard this big explosion. We just started running. Someone said they heard him shouting Arabic and they started shooting before this big explosion. We left everything and started running away.”

Fellow passenger Christine Boyen said: “I heard a huge sound. I thought it was a plane crashing. There was a great explosion then all the windows came down. There were many dead and the policemen told me that there are many dead underground. The cigarette saved my life because otherwise I would have been in the station. I was going to quit.”

A man with a burnt hole in his jacket said: “It was just ten metres from me.”

08:49

Airport explosions were ‘suicide attack’

The explosions at Zaventem airport in Brussels were part of a “suicide attack”, according to the Belgian state broadcaster.

08:38

Latest death toll: Up to 10 reported dead and 30 more injured

Several people are feared dead and many injured after the suspected terrorist bomb attacks in Brussels.

The Belgian capital’s airport was this morning rocked by a double blast, with reports of up to 10 dead and around 30 more injured.

Another blast was reported by local media at a Metro station at Maelbeek in the city, close to European Union buildings. Unconfirmed reports suggested another blast at Schuman station.

The suspected terror attack came as Brussels was on the highest level of alert following the arrest of Paris atrocity suspect Salah Abdeslam in the city last week.

08:38

David Cameron: We will do everything we can to help

08:35

Unconfirmed reports of blasts at two metro stations

Local reporters are now reporting blasts at two Metro stations in Brussels, at Schuman and Maelbeek.

08:31

Belgian terror level raised to maximum

The Belgian terror level has been raised to its maximum level in the wake of the airport explosions, according to the interior minister.

08:25

Reports of third explosion at Brussels Metro station close

According to unconfirmed local reports, a bomb has gone off at Maalbeek Metro station in Brussels close to European Union institutions.

08:20

‘It was chaos, it was the worst thing’

Jef Versele, 40, from Ghent, Belgium, was at the airport when he heard the two explosions.

“I was on my way to check in and two bombs went off – two explosions,” he said.

“I didn’t see anything. Everything was coming down. Glassware. It was chaos it was unbelievable. It was the worst thing.”

He added: “People were running away, there were lots of people on the ground. A lot of people are injured.”

08:13

‘Shots were fired in airport and Arabic shouted before blasts’

Shots were fired and there was shouting in Arabic voices before the first of the blasts, according to Belgian news agency Belga.

Videos and images on social media show smoke rising from the airport building’s shattered windows.

Images are beginning to emerge on social media of the wounded.

A wounded passenger lies on the floor at Brussels airportA wounded passenger lies on the floor at Brussels airport  Photo: @tabagari

08:11

Video: Evacuating the injured

Footage shows rows of ambulances outside the airport, ferrying the injured to hospitals. Around 20 people have been injured, according to firefighters.

08:06

Witness: ‘I could feel the buildings move’

According to reports, the incident centred on an American Airlines desk in a departure hall.

Sky News Middle East correspondent Alex Rossi, who was at the airport en route for Tel Aviv, told the channel: “I could feel the buildings move.”

Wounded passengers at Brussels airport after an explosionWounded passengers at Brussels airport after an explosion  Photo: @NewstalkFM

Describing how people were “dazed and shocked”, he said: “The word is definitely two explosions. The thinking here by everybody is that it is some kind of terrorist attack although that hasn’t been verified by anyone here at the airport.

“No word too of casualties. Don’t know how the explosion took place, the method if you like. But it certainly seems Brussels airport has been targeted in a terrorist attack.

“We are all being moved out of the airport now towards the emergency exit. There is a great deal of confusion here. Certainly there are a number of very upset, as you might imagine, very frightened people.”

He added: “There are fears that there might be other attackers.”

Wounded passengers at Brussels airportWounded passengers at Brussels airport  Photo: @tabagari

Mr Rossi, who had checked his luggage through the main baggage area and was at a departure gate, said he thought he was “fairly close” to the explosions but he could not be sure.

He told Sky News as he was being ushered out of the airport along with other passengers: “We felt the walls of the building rock. Dust came down from the ceiling.

“I think it was a very big explosion – hardly surprising the windows are blown out.

“I would expect if there were people around when those explosions happened – we heard two explosions – there will be a number of casualties.”

08:03

Tiles strewn across floor – suitcases abandoned

Footage from inside the building shows a scene of devastation, with ceiling tiles strewn across the floor and suitcases abandoned.

Airport spokeswoman Anke Fransen said: “There were two blasts in the departure hall. The first aid team are in place for help.”

Passengers were led onto the tarmac and travellers were urged to stay away from the airport.

07:58

Video: People flee from Brussels airport explosions

07:51

‘At least 11 dead’ – Belgian media reports

Unconfirmed reports in Belgian media say that there have been 11 deaths at Brussels Zaventem airport.

Brussels Airport Smoke rise over Brussels Airport   Photo: Jef Versele

07:47

‘Several injured’ – airport spokesman

Anke Fransen, a spokesman for Zaventem airport, says: “There were two blasts in the departure hall. First aid team are in place for help.”

07:44

Two ‘seriously wounded,’ explosion took place ‘in departures area’

Two people are seriously wounded after the explosion, which is feared to be a terrorist attack, and the blasts reportedly took place in the departure zone in the charter area and at counters 4 and 5, the Telegraph’s Henry Samuel reports.

The Belgian authorities say they have launched a “catastrophe” plan in response to the blast, according to Belgian media.

 

07:39

Windows shattered in blast

This image appears to show the destruction wrought by the two explosions at Brussels airport, authorities say is “too early” to comment on.

Damage at Brussels airport after an explosionDamage at Brussels airport after an explosion  Photo: @goldennike

07:36

Passengers evacuated from airport

As the cause of the two explosions at Zaventem airport remains unclear, video images are beginning to emerge of passengers fleeing the airport. The Belgian authorities are yet to comment on what took place.

Brussels airport being evacuated after multiple explosionsBrussels airport being evacuated after multiple explosions  Photo: @khalidkhan

07:31

Airport closed following explosions

The airport has been closed and flights cancelled, whie rail routes to Zaventem airport have been diverted.

07:29

Panic at Brussels airport entrance as passengers flee from explosion

Video footage has emerged of passengers fleeing the airport

07:28

‘Injuries in departure lounge’

Injuries have been reported in the departures lounge of the airport, while authorities are yet to confirm whether the explosion was part of a terrorist attack.

07:25

Two explosions at Brussels airport

Two explosions have been heard at Brussels airport with video and stills pictures showing smoke rising from one of the terminal buildings

A plume of smoke rises over Brussels airport after an explosionA plume of smoke rises over Brussels airport after an explosion  

10:16