Brussels Airport granted new environmental permit

On 29MAR24, Brussels Airport received a new environmental permit “of unlimited duration” from Flemish Environment Minister, Zuhal Demir. Its existing permit would have expired on 08JUL24. Unlimited duration sounds good but is shackled to strict operating conditions. While the airport has the go-ahead now, to continue its activities, it is also bound to observe conditions pertaining to aircraft movements and noise. This means that growth and development is secured in the short-term, but the conditions could impact the airport’s longer-term growth beyond 2032, since flight movement numbers are restricted. According to the release, this “jeopardizes the future of the entire airport ecosystem. 240,000 flight movements per year gives a growth margin until 2032, however an adjustment will be necessary to allow for growth thereafter. In addition, the license also contains strict noise reduction targets.”

That said, the release also stipulates: “First the European ‘Balanced Approach’ regulation must be followed before such operating restrictions can be imposed. The outcome of this procedure will have to show whether the present measures can be effectively imposed or require adjustments. If these restrictions are implemented as such, they would lead to the airport having to cut back on its activities which would have a severe impact on the connectivity of our country and the socio-economic role of the airport, with today accounts for 64,000 direct and indirect jobs.”

Brussels Airport has always been keen to establish a balance between fulfilling its socio-economic role and ensuring connectivity. And is concerned about its impact on the environment, thus sustainability features top in its business strategy.

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