Charlotte airport: Operations normal following Brussels attacks

Charlotte Douglas International Airport officials talk about airport security

Airport prepares for upcoming Spring travel season
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Airport prepares for upcoming Spring travel season

Operations are running normally at Charlotte Douglas International Airport Tuesday following the terror attacks at the Brussels airport and subway system that left at least 31 people dead.

Officials say the airport is paying attention to what the Department of Homeland Security is saying and will respond with changes to its procedures if necessary.

“We don’t have any specific directives or anything at this point yet ... but I think if you walk through the lobby today, you’ll see there’s a bit more of a presence,” Jack Christine, the airport’s deputy aviation director, said of security following the attacks.

Meanwhile, transit authorities in New York, Washington and across Europe tightened security in heavily trafficked public areas as the Belgian capital remained on lockdown.

Herbert Judon, Charlotte Douglas’s assistant aviation director, declined to provide specifics about the airport’s security measures but did say he’s confident in the “layered system” that allocates responsibility to multiple partners.

No delays were reported in Charlotte because of the attacks, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. No direct flights go between Charlotte and Brussels.

Christine emphasized DHS’s “see something, say something” security precaution to anyone flying this week. “If something doesn’t seem quite right, we want to know about it,” he added.

Charlotte Douglas is the second-busiest hub for American Airlines, which operates about 90 percent of the airport’s 700 or so daily flights.

American Airlines said it would work with customers with reservations to Brussels who want to change their itineraries. Those who have travel booked March 22-23 can request a refund, select a different airport or reschedule travel through April 5, the airline said.

It also said American Airlines Flight 751 from Brussels to Philadelphia has been canceled for Tuesday, and that Flight 750 from Philadelphia to Brussels is not scheduled for Tuesday.

All American Airlines employees and crew at the Brussels airport are “safe and accounted for,” the airline said.

A Delta representative also said that operations are normal.

The attacks in Brussels come as officials expect Charlotte to see a record number of spring break travelers in coming days.

At Friday’s news conference, Christine said he advises travelers to get to the airport two hours early, check on flight statuses ahead of time and print boarding passes at home or use mobile phone versions.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta