Last year Brussels Airport announced its future infrastructure projects for the period 2011-2016. The plans include a few large projects and several smaller projects and involve a total investment of € 460 million.
One of the most striking innovations is the Connector, a building which is to link the passenger terminal to Pier A above-ground.
Pier A was put into service in May 2002. The pier, which seems to be somewhat isolated on the airport grounds, is to this day considered one of the most comfortable and efficient airport buildings in Europe. However, many passengers consider the existing tunnel from the terminal and the fact that they have to change floors using elevators and escalators a nuisance. Also the fact that it they have to use an underground passage, with no natural daylight, does little to contribute to the image of our airport and country.
That is why the tunnel, which is used by over 10 million passengers every year, will be replaced by a spacious surface building, which for the time being is referred to by its project name “Connector”.
The new Connector will allow passengers to walk straight from the check-in desk to their gate in pier A or B, without changing floors. In the opposite direction, the building will provide the arriving passenger with a smooth and agreeable passage to the baggage reclaim hall and the exit.
The building will include a central platform for access and security screening as well as border control for travellers departing from both Pier A and Pier B. This will considerably increase the efficiency of the screening process, as the peak hours for security in both piers are complementary. Moreover, the building will offer plenty of space for a commercial area.
The conceptual phase and the functional planning of the building were completed end 2011. In August CTHM (Chapman Taylor – bureau Happold – MOSS) was commissioned by Brussels Airport to draw up the building plans. Click on this link to view the first drawings of the new building. An animated movie is available on here.
This year will be mostly spent on the administrative and operational preparation for the construction of the building, with the actual building work starting early next year. The challenge is huge: the construction site will be located in the centre of a busy international airport, which will remain fully operational throughout the building works without compromising passenger comfort. The building is scheduled to open by the end of 2014.
With the construction of the Connector, the terminal, pier A and pier B will become an unbroken whole, with a central screening platform for passengers and their hand luggage. This will allow for smooth passenger flows, more efficient security screening with shorter queues and an attractive offer of services, shops, bars and restaurants.
“With this major investment in Connector, Brussels Airport is aiming for a breakthrough by 2015 with regard to efficiency, passenger comfort and travel experience”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of The Brussels Airport Company.