Brussels Airport photobook – An exclusive peek at life at the airport

Each year Brussels Airport connects over 20 million passengers to 226 destinations around the globe. While travellers only get a glimpse of everything that goes on at the airport, photographer Tom D’haenens spent over one year, camera in hand, capturing everything that goes on, giving us an exclusive peek at life at the airport.

Earlier this week we were invited to the Sheraton hotel at Brussels Airport, for the festive presentation of Tom D’haenens’ new Brussels Airport photobook.


On average 20,000 passengers board a plane at Brussels Airport daily. They rarely see more than the departure hall, security checkpoint and duty free shops before boarding the airplane. Every day thousands of people give it their best to bring all these passengers quickly, safely and comfortably to their destination. In this second edition of the Brussels Airport photobook, the beautiful pictures by Tom D’haenens and accompanying stories by Steven Decraene tell the story of how these men and women manage to do this.


As air traffic controllers make sure runways and taxiways are clear for take-off and landing, they are rewarded with stunning views of the airport.

bru-apt7bru-apt10bru-apt12An aerial view of Brussels Airport showing the Connector building, Pier A and Pier B and the runways. One of the 3 runways, runway “25/7L”, is 3,638 meters long.bru-apt5Brussels Airport covers an area of 1,245 hectares, 725 of those are paved. Rainwater is collected into huge retention basins. As large areas of water can attract birds, which might increase the risk of a “bird strike”, the airport placed 3,2 million polyethylene balls in the basins.

Speaking about birds, 77 airlines connect the capital of Europe to the rest of the world. One of those airlines is Brussels Airlines. The Belgian airline created a series of aircraft dedicated to Belgian icons: the surrealistic Magritte airplane, “Trident” the airplane used by Belgium’s national soccer team, the Red Devils and “Rackham” the aircraft inspired by national hero Tintin.



Every now and then unusual guests arrive at the airport. Imperial Star Troopers guard an All Nippon Airways Dreamliner during the celebrations launching the Brussels-Tokyo route.


If you are travelling through the airport in the coming months you might see airplanes being de-iced. Ice on the wings of an aircraft can make it uncontrollable, therefore on ice-cold winter days the wings and tail fins of airplanes have to be de-iced. As regular salt could corrode the materials used in aircraft a special chemical product is used.


Browsing through the hundreds of large-size photos, taken in areas that are off limits to the general public, Tom D’haenens gives us, travellers and aviation enthusiasts, a unique insight at what goes on every day behind the scenes at one of the largest airports in Europe.

Brussels Airport by Tom D’haenens is published by View & Vision.

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