July 9, 2001
European Airlines Halt Brussels Shipments
Twelve European airlines have halted all transport of valuable goods to and from Brussels International Airport, the Associated Press reports. The airlines, including British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa and Sabena, stopped shipping valuable cargo because of below-standard security at the airport. The Brussels airport sends and receives many shipments of rough diamonds.
The airport boycott comes after two armed plane robberies in the last year. In April, masked and armed robbers stole an undisclosed amount of valuables from a parked Sabena airplane, and last October, robbers stole $160 million in diamonds and other valuables from a Lufthansa jet cargo hold.
The airlines say they will not ship valuables to or from the Brussels airport until there's a substantial improvement in airport security, AP reports. The Association of European airlines, Europe's largest airline association, is asking for stricter controls on access and improved checks on security badges in cargo areas. The Belgian government says it has started a security assessment and will present the results at the end of July.
- by Julia M. Duncan