Located less than 10 kilometres north-east of the city centre, Brussels Airport is the main airport serving the capital of Brussels and acts as a major transport hub in northwestern Europe, as the 21st busiest airport in the continent. It serves 23 million passengers a year and employers over 20,000 people, acting as a key travel, commercial and cultural hub of the city. It is situated in Flemish Regions of Belgium, in the suburbs of Brussels, it is the base for various significant national airlines, including Brussels Airlines and Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, and it offers international flights across the world.
The entirety of Brussels Airport operates within one terminal, although there are different levels and piers, with Pier A focusing on flights within the Schengen countries of Europe and Pier B orientating around larger international flights. Visitors can enjoy a number of services as there are many shops, restaurants and bars throughout the terminal, offering a relaxing break for waiting travellers and the opportunity to buy typical Belgium goods and souvenirs. There are places of worship within the airport available to all the major religions and various other practical facilities like currency exchange, internet access, information desks and baggage storage, with VIP lounges available for exclusive travellers. As Brussels Airport is an important travel base in the continent, European Air Transport has headquarters in the building, and it acts a location for conferences and events, containing rooms with a capacity of 600 people.
Brussels Airport directly connects to Brussels Ring Road, making it easily accessible for drivers, and also offers a range of parking facilities, in addition to rental car services and taxi points. Visitors can travel by train as the Airport Railway Station provides direct links into the centre of Brussels, which then connects to the rest of Europe. There are also tram lines, and the airport supports cyclists by providing parking space and safer, separated pathways.
Brussels Airport was originally used as a German base in the 1940s before it became a civilian airport in 1948. The new site was opened by Prince Charles, Count of Flanders on 20th July 1948 and a railway line was connected to the airport in 1955. A new runway was added a year later, stretching 2,300 metres long and the government constructed a new building to create the terminal in existence today, in time for the 1958 World Fair in Brussels.