to 16 European carriers are preparing to stop transporting valuable cargo
shipments through Brussels National Airport citing a lack of confidence in
security measures at the Belgian hub.
have been demanding improved protection following a spate of armed robberies at
Brussels, the latest of which occurred in early April when a gun-toting gang
attacked a Sabena ATR 72 arriving from Luxembourg. It followed a similar attack
on a Lufthansa Airbus A319 in October last year during which a cargo of
diamonds was stolen.
is an important transit point for gems destined for Antwerp, one of the world’s
major centres for the diamond industry. The ferocity of the latest attacks has
alarmed carriers and prompted the Association of European Airlines to insist
that the Belgian Government urgently review the situation – warning that a
boycott could be imposed if action is not taken to improve security.
is not an official AEA action,” says a spokesman for the association. “But a
number of airlines have decided to stop transporting valuables through
says that an internal AEA survey has shown that 13 carriers are immediately
prepared to participate in the action: Aer Lingus, Air France, Austrian
Airlines, British Airways, BMI British Midland, Croatia Airlines, JAT, Finnair,
KLM, Sabena, SAS, Swissair and Turkish Airlines.
of these carriers are protesting on a solidarity basis, he admits, because the
amount of valuable cargo they carry through Brussels is minimal.
other airlines – Lufthansa, CSA Czech Airlines and Air Malta – are also
expected to join the boycott, he adds, although the AEA is yet to be officially
notified of their intention.
Airport operator BIAC could not be reached for comment on the airlines’