Connector Project Manager Steven Goeman looks back over a turbulent but exciting time.
He remembers a few "heroic" discussions… but even now he still gets goosebumps whenever he sees Connector.
Here's a look back over the project through the eyes of the project manager.
"The project started in January 2011, and I came on board in December 2011. One of the most important objectives, if not the most important objective, was to improve the passenger experience. Among other things, we wanted to reduce the 'connecting time' between check-in and the gates, and give passengers a good view of the tarmac," Goeman explains.
"I remember a few 'heroic' discussions during the concept phase," Goeman says, laughing. "One issue was the balance between commercial and operational space. Another lively discussion was about the width of the building: should it be 47 or 51 metres? The entire concept also had to make future changes possible – a bit of 'flexibility’ had to be built into the concrete.
"When I look back over the short time we had to build Connector, and the limitations and requirements imposed by the airport's activities, I'm very pleased to be surrounded by a team of competent people. And I think that attention to the project from senior management helped to make Connector a success."
Because the project ran for a longer period, it had to be adjusted at times: changing legislation, forecasts of passenger numbers, refining strategic choices, etc. And that was not the only challenge Goeman faced as project manager.
He says: "As well as these changes over time, I also had the challenge of reconciling diverging interests in an environment with important requirements, including time and budget restraints, but also the fact that the airport had to remain operational.
"The 'will to push ahead' among the project team, management and all of Brussels Airport Company in fact meant that the project was able to progress as it needed to. Now, with the end in sight, everybody is getting a bit tense and at the same time you feel the expectation rising about this new chapter for the airport.
"Personally, I still get goosebumps whenever I'm standing on the tarmac looking at Connector, whenever I go into one of the technical areas, the security platform, the commercial area, and so on. The sense of having played a role in a project of this scope in the country's number one airport always gives me a lift when things aren't going so well. I'm proud that I've been able to gather together, mobilise and motivate different people around the project so the desired result could be achieved."