Brussels South Charleroi Airport (BSCA), also unofficially called Brussels-Charleroi Airport, Charleroi Airport or rarely Gosselies Airport, (IATA: CRL, ICAO: EBCI) is an international airport, located in Gosselies, a part of the city of Charleroi in the Province of Hainaut in Wallonia, Belgium. The airport is 4 nautical miles (7.4 km; 4.6 mi) north of Charleroi and 46 km (29 mi) south of central Brussels. In terms of passengers and aircraft movements, it is the second busiest airport in Belgium having served 7,303,720 passengers in 2016 (75,038 movements). It is also a busy general aviation airfield, being home to 3 flying schools.
The Aéropole, one of the Science Parks of Wallonia, is located near the airport.
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The first aeronautical activities in Gosselies date back to 1919 as a flying school, then aeronautical maintenance activities the following year. The British aircraft manufacturer Fairey Aviation settled a subsidiary Avions Fairey on the site (then known as Mont des Bergers) in 1931.
During World War II, the site was arranged as an Advanced Landing Ground (A-87) for the allied air forces, from 14 September 1944 until 10 August 1945.
Gosselies airfield became a public aerodrome after World War II, but the main activities of the site remained aeronautical constructions (installation of SABCA in 1954, then SONACA in 1978, taking the place of Fairey).
In the 1970s, the Belgian national airline Sabena launched a Liège–Charleroi–London service, but this was soon dropped because of poor results. Gosselies was left with almost no passenger traffic, the airport being mainly used for private or pleasure flights, training flights and occasional charters to leisure destinations around the Mediterranean Sea or to Algeria.
Development since the 1990s
Operations at Brussels South Charleroi grew in the 1990s, with a new commercial management structure (BSCA – Brussels South Charleroi Airport) and the arrival of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair in 1997, which opened its first continental base at Charleroi a few years later.
Although criticised for the subsidies paid by the Walloon government to help its installation, Ryanair opened new routes from Brussels South Charleroi (they also closed two destinations: London–Stansted and Liverpool, although Stansted was re-introduced in June 2007 before being suspended again). Other low-cost carriers later joined Ryanair in Brussels South Charleroi, such as Wizz Air. The Polish airline Air Polonia operated services from here to Warsaw and Katowice before going bankrupt in August 2004.
In September 2006 it was announced that Moroccan low-cost airline Jet4you would launch three weekly flights to Casablanca (on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday) starting 1 November 2006, in code-share cooperation with Belgian airline Jetairfly.
A new terminal opened in January 2008. It has a capacity of up to 5 million passengers a year, which means that it has reached its maximum capacity in 2010 (5,195,372 passengers). 
The European Commission objected to assistance the airport offered to Ryanair, since the airport is owned by the Wallonia regional government and thus the discounts and other benefits could be considered state aid. However, the Court of First Instance (a European Union court) decided on 17 December 2008 that the Commission's decision finding that illegal aid had been granted to Ryanair should be annulled and quashed as being erroneous in law. However, in March 2012, the Commission reopened the case in order to take this judgment into account.
In January 2017, a second terminal (Terminal 2) was opened in order to relieve the T1 during rush hours and to be able to accommodate 10 million passengers a year in the future.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights at Brussels South Charleroi Airport:
| Air Algérie || Algiers
| Air Belgium || Curaçao, Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre
| Air Corsica || Seasonal: Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi
| Belavia || Minsk (suspended)
| Eurowings || Seasonal: Pristina
| Pegasus Airlines || Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
| Ryanair || Agadir, Alghero, Alicante, Ancona, Athens, Banja Luka, Barcelona, Bari, Bergamo, Béziers, Billund (begins 1 November 2021), Bologna, Bordeaux, Bratislava, Brindisi, Bucharest, Budapest, Cagliari, Carcassonne, Comiso, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Faro, Fes, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Helsinki (begins 2 November 2021), Kraków, Lamezia Terme, Lanzarote, Lisbon, Madrid, Málaga, Malta, Manchester, Marrakesh, Marseille, Nador, Naples, Nîmes, Oujda, Palermo, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos (resumes 2 November 2021), Perpignan, Pescara, Pisa, Porto, Prague, Rabat, Rome–Ciampino, Santander, Seville, Sofia, Stockholm–Arlanda (begins 31 October 2021), Tangier, Tenerife–South, Thessaloniki, Toulouse, Treviso, Turin, Valencia, Verona, Vienna, Vilnius, Warsaw–Modlin, Wrocław, Zagreb, Zaragoza |
Seasonal: Almería, Bergerac, Chania, Corfu, Essaouira (begins 31 October 2021), Girona, Glasgow, Heraklion, Ibiza, La Rochelle, Perugia, Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Rodez, Santorini, Zadar, Zakynthos
| TUI fly Belgium || Algiers, Alicante, Casablanca, Constantine, Málaga, Nador, Oran, Oujda, Rabat, Tangier, Toulon, Tunis |
Seasonal: Al Hoceima, Béjaïa, Djerba, Enfidha, Heraklion, Hurghada, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes, Sharm El Sheikh, Tenerife–South, Tlemcen
|Wizz Air || Bacău, Bucharest, Budapest, Chișinău, Cluj-Napoca, Iași, Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Skopje, Sofia, Timișoara, Tirana, Varna, Vienna, Warsaw–Chopin
See source Wikidata query and sources.
Passengers per year
Busiest Routes from Charleroi Airport (2016)
|| Hungary, Budapest Airport
|| Italy, Bergamo Airport
|| Romania, Bucharest Airport
|| Spain, Madrid Airport
|| Denmark, Copenhagen Airport
There are several shuttles to different cities in the neighbouring countries (Luxembourg, Metz, Thionville, Lille) plus a regular coach service that runs from the airport to Brussels-South railway station. Also, a special bus (Airport Express – A) operates from the airport to Charleroi-South railway station. A combined bus and train ticket to any other Belgian railway station can be bought in the terminal.
The airport is accessible by the A54/E420 highway
Accidents and incidents
- On 8 April 2011, a Dutch F-16 had to make an emergency landing because of a technical failure of one of its sets of landing gear. The plane landed on its belly. The pilot did not suffer any injuries.
- On 9 February 2013, a small Cessna plane crashed near the runway after suffering technical problems during take-off, killing all 5 people on board. The airport was closed for about six hours before resuming services.
This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.