Brussels South Charleroi Airport (BSCA), Charleroi
‘8 million passengers travelled through Brussels South Charleroi Airport in 2018: a considerable success for the region. You can fly to more than 190 destinations from here and the airport’s site provides 3,000 jobs’, explains Vincent Grassa, spokesman for Brussels South Charleroi Airport.
Since the Irish aviation company Ryanair launched its operations in May 1997, Brussels South Charleroi Airport (BSCA) has become a major economic actor in Charleroi Métropole. Viewed from multiple perspectives, its expansion and size now places Brussels South Charleroi Airport in aviation’s international rankings.
Increase in destinations and travellers
With the success of low-cost flights in Belgium at the start of the 2000s, BSCA rapidly came to the foreground in the Belgian landscape. Today, travellers can fly to more than 190 destinations. ‘The Mediterranean region is extremely popular at Brussels South Charleroi Airport. Italy, Spain, France or even Morocco feature on the list of the most popular destinations from BSCA. For tourism or simply for visiting family and friends, each passenger can easily find what they want thanks to offers from the airlines. Eastern Europe, with countries such as Poland, Hungary or even Romania, is also amongst the most popular destinations from BSCA, primarily for city breaks to the regions which are worth exploring.’
On average, the destinations offered from/to Brussels South Charleroi Airport are a two-hour flight away. The airport therefore offers a wide choice of destinations at competitive prices and convenient times. The airport is operational from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. This window enables flights to be offered early in the morning, with return flights in the evening. ‘Depending on the destination, it is possible leave at sunrise on the first flights of the day and to return on a flight in the evening. This enables you to gain one or two extra days at the destination’, says Vincent Grassa.
A convenient airport which is growing
Although the airport has seen rapid growth in recent years, it makes a point of retaining what made it successful in the first place: its simplicity and convenience for the passenger. An application on IOS and Android was launched in June 2018. It aims to guide the traveller and offer him tailored assistance. The Wi-Fi network has also been adapted to the demands so that the passenger can profit from a high-speed connection and browse the internet in peace whilst waiting at the airport. ‘A number of business people travel through BSCA, primarily for its convenient location. The journeys are simple and quite short. The time it takes to pass through the airport and the waiting time are limited and make for an easy passage through our facility’, says Vincent Grassa.
Brussels South Charleroi Airport focuses on managing the aeroplane quickly and efficiently once it is on the ground, both with respect to loading and unloading to ensure quick turnaround times under optimum security conditions. The airport has also won an international award for its punctuality. ‘Everything is considered to make the job easier and to guarantee operational performance that responds to the needs of our customers. Our teams guarantee a turnaround time of 25 minutes for an aeroplane’, he adds.
To make everything work, 700 people are employed directly by Brussels South Charleroi Airport. The airport manages both passenger services and baggage handling, as well as the aeroplanes, commercial activity, business aviation and cargo. Added to these, more than 2,300 people are working on the airport’s site so that all the cogs work as well as possible, specifically the Skeyes control tower, the police, security teams, maintenance staff, etc.
A bright future and planned development
BSCA’s airport activity is designed to be sustainable and long-term. Since June 2018, long-haul flights have flown from Brussels South Charleroi. ‘The Belgian airline Air Belgium chose Brussels South Charleroi Airport to launch its business. Since June 2018, it has been possible to fly to Hong Kong from Brussels South Charleroi, on board of the company’s Airbus A340s. The development of long-haul flights is one of the airport’s prospects for development’, explains Vincent Grassa.
After expanding the commercial area at the terminal and offering a wider range of parking spaces, the new P4 Foot & Fly car park being located a 12-minute walk from the airport, the runway extension works are on the agenda. It will go from being 2,550 metres to 3,200 metres in the next few years.
Business aviation is also growing. The democratisation of the cost of private travel enables companies, in particular, to easily transport their partners flexibly and individually according to their needs. The cargo activity is also diversifying and a number of companies are no longer hesitant to trust Brussels South Charleroi Airport to transport certain small products with a high added value.
What’s more, a tourism strategy has been implemented with the City of Charleroi and Charleroi Métropole to welcome passengers on site and in the vicinity of the airport, in particular by highlighting the attractions of the city centre and all of the tourist destinations in the surrounding area.
Brussels South Charleroi Airport
Rue des Frères Wright 8
©Video/Reed & Leslie Artamonow