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The History of Brussels South Charleroi Airport


It was in 1919, when King Albert I inaugurated the first Belgian flying school in Gosselies, that our history began.

The following year, the Société Générale d'Aéronautique (SEGA) began maintenance and repair activities on the flying machines used by the region's flying club.

Avions Fairey S.A. then decided to set up one of its subsidiaries in Belgium.

Gosselies proved to be the perfect location for this establishment given its proximity to the city of Charleroi and the qualified workforce available there. It is this company that has made our aerodrome the centre of the Belgian aeronautics industry. 

After the Second World War, the "Mont des Bergers" (the highest peak in the region of Gosselies), now classified as a public aerodrome, saw its operation managed by the Régie des Voies Aériennes (RVA).

In 1978, the Société Nationale de Construction Aéronautique (SONACA) was created with the objective of taking over Fairey's activities.

The name Brussels South Charleroi Airport (BSCA) was finally introduced on 9 July 1991. The creation of this public limited company is part of the effective transfer of management authorities and operations of regional airports from the state to the regions. This transfer took place on 1 January 1992.

Following this transfer, the Walloon Region then decided to transfer the management of these two main airports (Charleroi and Liège) to private companies, subject to the coordinated laws on commercial companies.

During this period, the majority shareholder happens to be Sambrinvest Holding.

In the years that followed, a set of management procedures were put in place and took effect in 1995-1996.

From that moment on, the airport continued to expand.

On 1 May 1997, Ryanair opened its first route to Dublin from Brussel South Charleroi Airport. This launch gave legitimacy to the airport's name and initiated its evolution and growth.

On 26 April 2001, Ryanair made Brussels South Charleroi Airport its first continental base.

Other airlines followed in Ryanair's footsteps and diversified the offer on the airport apron. Jet4you started its operations in 2006, with a direct service to Casablanca. In turn, the company Private Wings arrived in 2007 and started operations towards Ingolstald.

Throughout these years, the number of passengers has continued to grow, making the airport more and more renowned.

In 2005, the construction of a new terminal began in order to manage all the passengers. The former terminal had become too small.  This second terminal was inaugurated on 28 January 2008 by H.R.H. Prince Philippe.

In 2009, an ILS CAT III "Instrument Landing System", a tool for the continuation of air operations in low visibility conditions, was installed.

In the same year, Jetairfly (later renamed TUI Fly Belgium) and Air Arabia Maroc started operating at the airport, doubling the range of destinations offered from BSCA's airport.

Belgian Airport, a new private shareholder, appeared in the BSCA ecosystem in 2011.

On March 30, 2014, Pegasus Airlines lands in Brussels South. Beyond its route to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen, a large number of other destinations are offered by the airline. With this one, the airport opens up to connections and allows to fly to distant destinations in South Asia.

Brussels South Charleroi Airport is entering a new chapter in its development.

The same year, the tour operator Thomas Cook decided to offer sunny destinations to its customers from Brussels South Charleroi Airport. The offer from the airport is growing.

In the following years, Brussels South Charleroi Airport continued its expansion and diversification by opening its terminal to more traditional airlines.

In 2017, BSCA saw the arrival on its apron of Air Corsica and Belavia aircraft.

As the number of passengers continued to increase over the years, a second terminal was opened in December 2016. A parallel commercial expansion has also been implemented, with work scheduled for completion in the summer of 2019.

On 31 January 2018, Brussels South Charleroi Airport officially announced its opening to the world with the arrival of a new airline, Air Belgium, and its plans to fly to Hong Kong. Long haul operators are landing now at BSCA airport.

The extension of the runway from 2500m to 3200m is also an integral part of BSCA's strategy in the development of its activities. Works began in March 2019 and will be completed in 2021.