Brussels Airport is in the top 20 of Western Europe's airports with over nine million passengers a year, but its planners are taking a serious look at its future and what its role should be as air traffic recovers, but pressure grows against short-haul flying.
Airport planners believe that too much of Brussels' traffic involves short distance flights connecting to major hubs in neighboring countries as well as to other cities in Belgium and that a sustainable future involves changing much of those flights to rail connections instead. Unlike Amsterdam's Schiphol and Paris's CDG, Brussels Airport doesn't have robust high-speed mainline rail connections.
Upgrading rail connections could make Brussels a more attractive entry point to western Europe and attract more long-haul flights, the airport believes. The need becomes even more important as neighboring countries ban or limit short-haul flights, and Belgium itself is imposing a 'boarding tax' on short-hauls.