At least 31 people killed and many others injured in a series of explosions at Brussels airport and in the city’s subway system, Belgian media have reported.
The blasts came just days after the main suspect in last November’s terror attacks in Paris was arrested in the Belgian capital.
There were two explosions in the departure hall at Brussels airport.
All flights were cancelled, arriving planes were being diverted and Belgium’s terror alert level was raised to maximum.
A flight from Newcastle to Brussels, which was due to land at Zaventem Airport at 7:15am this morning (March 22), has been diverted to Maastricht.
Flight BM1101 departed from Newcastle Airport at 6.30am and was just minutes from landing at Zaventem Airport when two explosions hit.
The BMI flight was diverted off course just before it descended into Brussels, and landed at Maastricht Airport in the Netherlands just before 8am.
In a statement, Newcastle Airport said: “Newcastle International Airport is aware of the situation in Brussels and our thoughts are with all those affected.
“The airport remains open and is operating as normal. We are liaising with the appropriate authorities to ensure the safety and security of our passengers which is always our main priority.
“We can confirm that flight BM1101 from Newcastle to Brussels diverted to Maastricht and landed safely. We will provide further information about later flights in due course.”
UPDATE 11:00: All flights between Newcastle and Brussels have been cancelled, this includes:
- BM1102 Scheduled 10:55
- BM1108 Scheduled 21:35
- BM1107 Scheduled 17:05
UPDATE: 14:30: In light of today’s tragic incidents in Brussels, Deputy Chief Constable, Winton Keenen, of Northumbria Police has given the following statement: “This is a tragic day for all those who have been affected by the incidents in Brussels today and our thoughts remain with them.
“While there is nothing to suggest any specific threat to our communities in Northumbria, we have increased patrols where appropriate to help provide reassurance to commuters and travellers.
“We will continue to review the situation and maintain increased patrols accordingly.
“We ask the public to remain calm but also vigilant in light of today’s tragic events.”
Belgian prime minister Charles Michel tweeted: “For the moment, we are asking people to stay where they are.”
Brussels Airport, which handles 23.5 million passengers per year, told users on Twitter: “There have been 2 explosions at the airport. Building is being evacuated. Don’t come to the airport area.”
Security has been increased at London Gatwick following the explosions in Brussels.
Heathrow issued a statement which read: “In the light of events in Brussels airport we are working with the police at Heathrow who are providing a high visibility presence.”
Heathrow warned of disruption to services to and from the Belgian capital and urged passengers to check the status of their flight with their airline.
British Airways said one of its flights from Brussels for Heathrow departed safely at 7.40am but two later services were cancelled.
Two flights making the outbound trip from Heathrow were also cancelled.
David Cameron called a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee and tweeted a message of support, saying: “I am shocked and concerned by the events in Brussels. We will do everything we can to help.”
Britons in Brussels were advised by the Foreign Office to avoid crowded places and public transport.