Brussels airport delays reopening - Emirates24|7

Brussels airport delays reopening

Brussels airport said it would not reopen on Wednesday despite drills to test resuming partial services after the suicide bombings that struck its departure hall and a metro train, as Belgium lowered the death toll to 32.

Zaventem airport has been closed since twin bombings wrecked the departure hall on March 22, in coordinated suicide attacks that were claimed by Daesh and which also hit Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels.

A total of 32 people were killed in Belgium's worst-ever attacks, the government said, down from an earlier toll of 35 following confusion between two lists of people who had died at the scene and in hospital.

"After thorough verification: number of victims goes down to 32. Still 94 people in hospital," Health Minister Maggie de Block tweeted.

All the victims have now been identified -- many of them foreign nationals, testament to the cosmopolitan nature of a city that is home to both the European Union and Nato.

Hundreds of employees returned to the airport Tuesday for a large-scale test run to determine if services could partially resume from Wednesday -- but those hopes were dashed.

Airport spokeswoman Anke Fransen said authorities were reviewing the results of the practice run, adding: "We hope to reach a decision on a partial reopening of the airport in the course of (Wednesday) morning."

The airport's chief executive Arnaud Feist has warned it could take "months" for Zaventem to be fully operational again.

Air Brussels told AFP it was experiencing "the most serious crisis" in its history because of the closure, with some five million euros a day in lost earnings.

The city's metro system was set to be largely back to normal again from Wednesday, apart from Maelbeek station where the bombing took place.