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Flanders gives green light to airport tram

15:41 17/09/2023

Brussels' airport tram is one step closer to fruition, following Flanders environment minister Zuhal Demir’s thumbs-up to the project.

The permit to build the tramline running from the Nato roundabout to the Flemish border had already been granted by the Brussels region.

Now, construction for the rest of the section that goes through Flanders, which will also include cycle bridges and tunnels, has also been authorised.

The tram currently stops at the Nato and Eurocontrol headquarters on Boulevard Léopold III, in Haren.

Following Demir’s approval, the line will be extended to the airport.

“It is crazy we still do not have a tram connection between Brussels and Zaventem airport,” Demir said. “That is why we have taken the decision to build the missing link to finally creating a smooth connection.”

With the new line, a ride from Brussels-North station to Zaventem will take about 30 minutes over some 12km, of which a 4km section still needs to be built.

While Brussels-North station and the airport are reachable by train in less than 15 minutes, the new tram route will make airport connections easier for residents in parts of Schaerbeek and Evere.

Construction work was scheduled to start early next year but will not now take place until late 2025 or early 2026. With the permits in place, tenders will soon be launched to find a contractor.

According to the Flanders mobility organisation coordinating the project, De Werkvennootschap, the works are estimated to take four years.

This means that the new tramway, which De Werkvennootschap estimates will carry at least 10,000 passengers a day, should be ready between 2029 and 2030.

“This is an important step in a crucial interregional mobility dossier of the Flemish Brabant region and Brussels,” said Kris Claes, managing director of the Voka – Flanders’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“The airport tram will make a difference to people working not only at and near Brussels Airport, but also the business parks surrounding the airport in Machelen and Zavantem will be easier to get to.”

Written by Liz Newmark