Multiple explosions rocked Brussels early Tuesday morning as terrorists attacked Brussels’ Zaventem Airport and the Maelbeek metro station.
Early reports indicate there were two explosions at the airport, killing 11 people and wounding 81. At the Maelbeek metro station, 15 people are reported dead, with 55 injured.
That’s the response from IATA following the terrorist bombings in Brussels on March 22.
The association’s director general and CEO, Tony Tyler came straight to the point: “Innocent people have been senselessly murdered in an attack on our humanity. Our thoughts are with the victims, and their families and friends.”
Tyler said that in the wake of these attacks: “Questions of airport security will surely arise. The safety and security of our passengers and employees is always top priority. The aviation industry will continue to work closely with governments as they fulfill their responsibility to protect their citizens from evil acts with well-thought-out and coordinated measures.”
IATA’s boss pointed out that: “Aviation is a force for good. It brings the world together and fosters greater understanding of people and cultures. Those who commit terrorist acts know and fear this, and it is why air travel is so often a target. But terrorists will never succeed in destroying the fundamental urge and right of people to travel, explore and learn about the world.”
And Tyler concluded: “We stand united with the people of Brussels, where many of our own team live and work.”
“Words are meaningless to express our emotion today,” said Rudi Vervoort, president of the Brussels-Capital Region, following the terrorist attacks in Brussels today.
Vervoort continued: “What we endure again today is the abject violence of terrorism. A violence that will never weaken us. We are determined to fight it, for the citizen of Brussels, for the Belgians and Europeans who live and work in our capital every day.”
He said that “the terrorist attack of the airport was followed of a second attack, in the metro station Maelbeek. All stations have been immediately closed and the network shut down.”
Vervoort said that: “The time is now for grief. It is first of all dedicated to all the victims and their families. We send them our thoughts. We also want to say our pride to see the solidarity movement by the citizen of Brussels: This is the true face of Brussels.”
Following the attacks, the ACTA Board of Directors reacted, stating: “In light of recent acts of terrorism around the globe ACTA stands united with the global travel community. The victims and their families of these tragic terrorist events over the past months are in our thoughts as they cope. ACTA is proud to be representing the retail travel community as they work around the clock to support their clients during these challenging times.”
In the wake of those attacks in Brussels, ASTA president and CEO, Zane Kerby said: “Our thoughts are with the citizens of Belgium today, especially those who lost loved ones in the heinous attacks on their nation.”
Kerby continued: “ASTA offers its sympathy and support to all those impacted by these terrorist attacks against innocent family, friends and neighbors.”
He said that: “ASTA is reaching out to our 10 member agencies in Belgium to offer any assistance we can. Our hearts go out to you, and we pray for everyone’s safety and for peace in Brussels.”
UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai (pictured) said, “This is not an attack on Belgium, it is an attack on us all and sadly these tragic events remind us again that we are facing a global threat that needs to be addressed globally.”
In a message of support, the UNWTO said it was deeply shocked by the tragic attacks perpetrated in Brussels; and expressed its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims and to the Belgian people in this difficult moment.
Said Rifai. “On the behalf of the international tourism community, UNWTO conveys its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims and expresses its full solidarity with the people and the government of Belgium.”
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) strongly condemned the attacks in Brussels, with WTTC president and CEO, David Scowsill stating, “We are deeply saddened to hear about today’s callous attacks in Brussels, which have caused terrible injuries and the loss of so many innocent lives. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victims at this terrible time.”
Scowsill said, “We live in a time when terror attacks are growing in frequency. We urge the governments around the world to work closely together to combat this global threat and to increase security measures on the ground and across borders through expanding intelligence sharing. Enhancing security does not mean closing down borders. We encourage governments to make policy decisions that balance safety of their citizens with continuing to facilitate travel for business and leisure purposes.”