IATA calls on Belgium to scrap proposed ban on night flights

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said this week that a proposal by Belgium's Mobility minister to tackle noise pollution around Brussels Airport, including a ban on all night flights, should be scrapped.

George Gilkinet's proposal to ban all flights between 23.00 and 6.00 from October 2024 has already provoked several negative comments. Now the IATA has joined the chorus of voices condemning his plans.

IATA says the proposal is "premature" and is at odds with the internationally agreed "balanced approach" to noise pollution around airports. These agreements explicitly state that flight restrictions should only be used as a last resort and only after consultation, cost-benefit analysis and all other measures have been exhausted.

Economic impact

Furthermore, the proposed ban would have a "negative impact on the Belgian economy and air links". It would particularly affect the cargo sector, IATA said. The organisation also pointed out that Belgium is a major player in the export of pharmaceutical products, which are highly dependent on fast, time-sensitive and temperature-sensitive deliveries.

"It is particularly regrettable that minister Gilkinet has tried to circumvent the balanced approach"

Rafael Schwartzman, IATA's regional VP for Europe, acknowledged that complaints from local residents about noise pollution should be considered. "But it is particularly regrettable that minister Gilkinet has tried to circumvent the balanced approach. This is the long-accepted and successful way of controlling noise at airports," he said, adding that it is "essential that the government drops this proposal and instead consults with the various stakeholders".

20 per cent noise reduction

Gilkinet of green party Ecolo presented a draft ministerial decree on 15 July to limit noise pollution for residents near Brussels Airport. The most drastic measure in the decree is a total ban on night flights between 23.00 and 6.00. The plan aims to reduce overall noise levels by 20 per cent from October 2024 with 100 per cent silence from 23.00 to 6.00, 30 per cent less noise from 9.00 to 11.00, 20 per cent between 6.00 and 7.00 and 7 per cent between 7.00 and 21.00.




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Mobility minister wants to ban all night flights at Brussels Airport
The Federal minister for Mobility, Georges Gilkinet of Ecolo, presented a draft ministerial decree in inter-cabinet consultations on Friday to limit noise pollution for residents living near Brussels Airport. One striking measure is a total ban on night flights between 23.00 and 6.00.

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