New terminal for Charleroi
New flight terminal was opened at Charleroi Airport in Hanaut province.
It was a special day at Belgium's second busiest airport on Saturday. A new flight terminal was opened at Charleroi Airport in Hanaut province. The airport that is also known as Brussels South has seen a boom in passenger numbers in recent years.
There has been a fourteen fold increase in the number of passengers travelling via Charleroi over the past ten years.
Despite the airport being in Wallonia's biggest city, half of all passengers using it are Flemings.
The new terminal has a surface area of 30,000 square metres or the equivalent of six football pitches.
The state of the art terminal has ample parking and no fewer than twenty-five check in desks.
The airport is now ready to cope with five million passengers a year.
The Chairman of Charleroi Airport Marcel Buelens is a happy man.
"We now have a capacity of five million passengers with the present set-up. However, this is a modular building and there are two extra sections that can be added to bring us up to a capacity of 7.5 million passengers".
This would be tripple of the current number of passengers using the airport and would also provide an important boast to the economy in a city with high levels of unemployment.
The Walloon Prime Minister Rudy Demotte (Francophone socialist) told the VRT that as many as 1,300 jobs could be created as a result of the airport's expansion.
Among the V.I.P.s joining Mr Demotte at the opening ceremony were Crown Prince Filip and the Federal Transport Minister Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian democrat).
Mr Leterme told the VRT that it is very important that the Walloon economy expands and added that Charleroi Airport was important to the whole of Belgium as around 50% of the passengers flying to and from Charleroi are Flemings.