1st plane takes off from Brussels Airport after March 22 attacks

A Brussels Airlines plane takes off at Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, Belgium.
Brussels Airlines flight to the Portuguese city of Faro became the first plane today to take off from Brussels Airport since it was hit by Islamic State attacks on March 22.

Staff and government officials at the airport marked the departure with a minute's silence and a round of applause. The passengers on board were the first to undergo the airport's strict new security regime after the suicide bombings.

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The key travel hub has been closed since two men blew themselves up in the departure hall on March 22 in coordinated blasts that also struck a metro station in the Belgian capital, killing a total of 32 people.

The attacks at the heart of Europe shocked the country and many hope the airport's reopening, albeit in a limited capacity and using a tent-like temporary check-in facility, will help turn the page on this month's traumatic events.

Brussels Airport chief executive Arnaud Feist yesterday said the partial resumption of services would start with three "symbolic passenger flights" to Faro, Athens and Turin.

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