Brussels cargo community cautious re new permit

As it goes, airport operating licenses are never welcomed with a standing ovation, and Brussels Airport’s is no exception. The cargo users take a ‘wait and see ‘approach. CargoForwarder Global (CFG) asked some of the airport’s clients what they think of the new permit of “unlimited duration,” which is bound to some prerequisites pertaining to noise emissions and aircraft movements.

Director Public Relations, Lorenzo Van de Pol, DHL Express – company courtesy

Air Cargo Belgium’s Director, Freek De Witte admits that the new license safeguards cargo operations and short-term growth, but also mortgages the long term. “The new permit does also not give real incentives for further fleet renewal,” Mr. De Witte says.

DHL Express is relieved that the new license does not bring a ban on night operations, even if it will reduce the number of landing and take-off slots. The demand for less noisy aircraft will also have consequences for the operations of the integrator’s aging fleet of A300s and B757s.

All of this will inevitably have an impact on the organization of our network,” says Director Public Relations, Lorenzo Van de Pol. “It will necessitate serious efforts to marry the global connections with the more restrictive conditions.”

Workable straight jacket
“On first sight, to DHL, these conditions are a tight straight jacket, but also a workable one,” Mr Van de Pol continues. “For us, it is logical that efforts are demanded from everybody and we will live up to these conditions as we see that the license tries to provide a subtle balance between the interests of the airport, the economy and the surrounding area. Also, in the future, the economic viability of the airport must be guarded permanently by all means.”

“But the clarity is there,” he says. “Clarity in a long-term framework creates the space to investigate, plan and execute new investments such as in the sustainability of our activities. That trust is back, also for our dedicated staff. From now on we can offer our present and future staff a stable working environment, beyond discussion.”

Waiting for Europe
In the period to come, DHL will analyze the conditions in detail so as to map their total impact. The future impact of a number of issues like the cap on the number of flights and the formulation of more stringent noise targets beyond 2030, are not completely clear.

And there is still the European ‘balanced approach’ procedure which has to weigh all measures and conditions before they can be implemented. Only then will DHL Express introduce adjustments in its activities to continue its operation from Brussels Airport, the company says.

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