Brussels Airport consultation ends without agreement
Discussions by a consultation platform on Brussels Airport have not led to a consensus, it emerged on Tuesday when the group published its final report.
The platform was established following a 2018 ruling by a judge, with the aim of reducing nuisance around the airport. The 80 members – representatives of the airport, local residents, municipalities, trade unions and governments – met nine times between September 2021 and June 2023.
The proposals they discussed included charges for the noisiest aircraft, better insulating buildings, restricting short-haul flights, moving the airport completely and abolishing night flights and certain flight paths.
“The aviation sector defends its business model based on the growth of business, the need to operate 24 hours a day, and the opportunities offered by technological developments,” the platform’s report says. “Discussions within the platform have not helped reconcile those views. It is now more than ever the responsibility of politicians to take action.”
"The views of all parties, which we already knew, were simply juxtaposed, without rapprochement"
Brussels Airport says it is disappointed with the “missed opportunity”. “The platform’s composition was unbalanced, with strong under-representation of the aviation sector versus municipalities and residents’ associations," said spokesperson Nathalie Pierard. “Crucial elements, such as flight paths, were also essentially absent.”
On the other side of the table were town councils such as Wemmel, which want to limit the number of flights. “There was no real consultation: the views of all parties, which we already knew, were simply juxtaposed, without rapprochement,” Wemmel mayor Walter Vansteenkiste said.
However, the platform had its merits, according to federal Mobility minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo). “This is the first time we’ve brought everyone around the table, in a case that has dragged on for 30 years and where there are hugely divergent views. Even if no agreement was found, the platform brought calm, clarity and objectivity.”
A proposal for an overall legal framework for the airport is expected by September.
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