Brussels Airport opens new customs area to check passengers' luggage

Brussels Airport has opened a new customs area this morning, on the eve of the busy start of the summer holidays. The area is meant to give incoming travellers more privacy when their luggage is being checked. 

Belgian customs staff are checking tens of thousands of passengers at Brussels Airport each year, to see whether they are not importing or exporting goods which are illegal, or on which taxes should be paid. They mainly look for drugs, counterfeit goods, or other forbidden items like ivory on the one hand, and excess imports of cigarettes, alcohol and cash (a maximum of 10,000 euros is allowed in the latter case) on the other.  

The new area offers travellers more privacy. Kristian Vanderwaeren of the customs department: "When we ask you to open your suitcase and your bra or other private items can be seen while other passengers are passing, this is not pleasant. This problem should be solved now." The new area will also give customs officers more scope.

In the first 5 months this year, over 95,000 passengers have been checked. Belgian customs have warned they this will stage strict checks in the upcoming summer season. For the purpose, a new scanner has been bought.