On Tuesday, March 22, just before 8 a.m. Central Europe Time, four Rockwell Collins technicians left a row of passenger check-in counters at the Brussels Airport to get spare equipment from their office located directly above the check-in hall.
The four are part of our ARINC Managed Services on-site IT staff — made up of seven technicians and a manager — who support and service our passenger processing system, self-serve kiosks and numerous other systems at the airport.
Just five minutes later, two suicide bombers detonated explosives in the check-in hall. The blasts — seconds apart — caused the office to shake. Military and local police locked down the airport. Panicked, but unharmed, the technicians were led by military police through the chaos and destruction to a secure area.
Manager Maarten Van Dyck was en route to the airport, just minutes away, when the blasts occurred. He was able to communicate with the technicians via text message and, when he found them unharmed, directed them to go home to their families and loved ones.
But as soon as it was deemed safe to return, the team was back, working all hours of the day and night helping the Brussels Airport prepare to reopen.
In an interview via WebEx from the team’s office at the airport, Van Dyck further described the events that unfolded in the minutes and days following the terrorist attack.
The Brussels Airport is now focused on rebuilding the passenger check-in hall where the bombing occurred. In support of that effort, the technicians are cleaning, reconfiguring and installing equipment for 13 rows of check-in counters.
Chris Forrest, head of Rockwell Collins’ global Airport Systems, commended the work of the on-site staff and the support of the entire company in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.
The team has responded in the highest professional and courageous manner under extremely stressful circumstances. The response from Rockwell Collins has been quick and sustained, and the technicians have expressed their thanks for that support.” – Chris Forrest
Since the explosions at the airport, Rockwell Collins has been making available counseling services to the employees, their families and significant others.
Security measures have increased at the Brussels Airport, and Forrest anticipates other airports around the world will take similar steps. ARINC Managed Services employees support and service our solutions at 130 airports around the world.
-By Annette Juergens Busbee