Regional airports in Flanders remain open

Although unprofitable without government support, the Flemish government has decided to keep the airports of Antwerp, Ostend-Bruges and Kortrijk-Wevelgem open. This is according to the report on the future vision for regional airports until 2040, presented by the Flemish government on Friday.

The three airports do need to develop further to become more profitable. For Antwerp Airport, the government sees a growth scenario in more scheduled and business flights. For Ostend-Bruges, more cargo traffic is also possible besides expanding passenger traffic. The report also recommended a focus on low-cost carriers.

It was previously shown in a cost-benefit analysis that closing the three airports by 2030 would be the most profitable scenario, as the government would no longer have to provide subsidies. Still, these smaller airports may offer benefits that cannot be monetised. For instance, the airports are useful for flight training and defence and offer fall-back options in case of problems at Brussels Airport.

"It is important to have a longer-term vision. This offers a perspective to the users of the Flemish airports, such as airlines and training centres," aviation expert Luk De Wilde told De Tijd. "These airports can contribute to the further development and sustainability of the airports of Antwerp and Ostend." However, De Wilde added that such a vision of aviation is lacking at the federal level.


#FlandersNewsService | Recent illustration picture, distributed on Wednesday 14 September 2022, shows people watching the boarding of an airplane of TUI, from a restaurant, at Airport Ostend-Bruges, the regional airport in Oostende, Monday 01 August 2022. The public prosecutor's office has filed an additional summons against the Flemish Region and Egis, the French operator of the airports in Antwerp and Ostend. The summons in first instance to the criminal court dates from the beginning of this summer, but has only now been announced.

© ​ BELGA PHOTO Robbe Vandegehuchte

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