Events in doubt following Brussels bombings

A double explosion rocked Brussels this morning (22 March), with initial reports indicating a suicide attack at Zaventem airport that had killed at least 13 people, with 35 more injured.

The airport was evacuated and all flights have been suspended.

Eyewitness reports said one explosion was close to the American Airlines check-in area.

There was also a report of an explosion at Maelbeeck metro station.

Shortly after the blasts, the Plastics and Recycling Show Europe tweeted that it would go-ahead with increased security measures onsite in the city.

A series of tweets posted by the conference and exhibition’s official Twitter said: “With the tragic news at Brussels airport this morning, the organisers of the PRSE show have been advised that until informed otherwise by the Brussels security services the show will continue. There will be increased security measures onsite. We will keep you informed of any further developments.”

The show previously had to be postponed in November 2015 due to the security alert in Brussels.

Elsewhere, Inntel said on Twitter that it had identified travellers affected by the incident on its iCare platform.

Meanwhile, Hugo Slimbrouck, director of strategic partnerships for Ovation Global DMC, who is based in Brussels, told CN: “After the Paris bombings, the hiding of these terrorists in the ‘ghetto of Molenbeek’, the Brussels lockdown and the capture of some of the major protagonists last Friday, we knew something like this was coming. It was only a matter of time. Definitely with those ‘sleeping cells’, which were probably activated with the capturing of the terrorists last week.

“Regardless of all the security at Brussels Airport we knew that this was possibly one of the major places where they would attack as well as the European district (the other bomb at the metro station this morning).

“How can you secure a complete airport when thousands of people walk in and out with luggage? I have passed through these doors hundreds of times and there is no way you can secure this, even with eight armed soldiers at the door.

“This day may mark the last day of my political correctness but on the other hand, it reminds me of what happened in Spain with ETA in the eighties when I was working in Marbella.

“It sounds terrible and egoistic, but once we had the bomb attack at the Don Carlos hotel, we knew we were a safe place for the future. I believe this will happen here as well. But we will need time to heal. Other countries involved in the war on terror will (but hopefully not) get their share. So the effect will be one that ripples across Europe I’m afraid affecting other cities. This is by no means a Brussels problem; we all knew it was coming closer (I was in Istanbul last week…).

“As for the destination we can only huddle together and spread a positive word about the destination Brussels and Belgium. But unfortunately, there is no safe solution as to maniacs and cowards of this sort.

“Let us mourn the death and wounded and pray for their relatives.”

The blasts come just days after Salah Abdeslam, believed to be one of the organisers of the November Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people, was arrested in the city.

The terror threat in Belgium has been raised by the authorities to the highest level and flights have been diverted to other airports within the country.

Public transport in Brussels has also been locked down.

The British Foreign Office issued a statement advising all travellers in Brussels to avoid crowded places and the public transport network.

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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