Evere Airport

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Template:Infobox airport

Evere Airport is a former military airfield and civil airport in Brussels, Belgium. It was closed in the early 1950s. The airfield was redeveloped as part of the Brussels urban area; some buildings remain in use as part of the NATO military alliance.

History

The airport was established by the Imperial German Air Service in 1914 during World War I. In February 1915 they completed a Zeppelin Hangar. It was partially destroyed on 7 June 1915 during an attack on airship LZ38. Although the hangar was repaired, airships were no longer parked at the airfield. Evere was abandoned by the Germans after their withdrawal from Belgium in November 1918 after the Armistice which ended combat.

Due to the airport being in the Belgian capital, Evere Airfield became the home of the Belgian Air Force during the 1920s. The Zeppelin Hangar was not torn dowwn until 1923, as it was used to park aircraft left behind by the Germans. Some of the aircraft were used for the first civilian flights at the airfield. It also became the hub of Belgian civil aviation. In 1923 a radio centre was built, along with a new airport terminal. In February 1925 Sabena inaugurated the first Congo flight, when a Handley Page W8f took off from the airfield. A notable visitor was Charles Lindbergh, who flew into Evere only a week after his historic transatlantic flight in 1927. Air traffic continued its steady growth, and by 1929 a new terminal (the third) was inaugurated. Several international airlines used Haren-Evere in the 1930s, such as Imperial, KLM, Air France, Deutsche Luft Hansa and British Continental.

With the Invasion of Belgium in May 1940 by the Germans, the Luftwaffe expanded the airfield, by building a new hangar (VIII) and a 820m long concrete runway (09-27). In addition, the Germans began building a new airfield at nearby Melsbroek and in November 1942 had connected the two airfields with a taxiway.

On 3 September 1944 Haren-Evere was liberated, and only three days later the first RAF squadrons landed. It was designated as Advanced Landing Ground B-56 Evere. As the Germans had left in a hurry, the twin airfields needed very little repair work. Between September 1944 and October 1945, the British further expanded the runways, taxiways and aprons. When World War II ended the two airfields continued to be used by the military. It took until March 1946 before the airfields were fully released for civilian use.

Due to the encroaching urban area of Brussels, the airfield began shutting down in the late 1940s, although repair services of Sabena and the Belgian Air Force would remain until the early 1950s.

In 1961 Belgium began using the former air terminal as its Tactical Air Forces headquarters. From 1967 NATO HQ moved into the southern part of the former airfield after a hasty departure from Paris after France withdrew from the NATO military branch.

In 2002 the Belgian Government offered their former headquarters to NATO for a replacement headquarters. The new headquarters is destined to become operational in 2012.

References

  • Evere Airport
  • Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

Gallery

External links