Limit the number of flights and ban weekend night operations at Brussels Airport, warns Flanders: “Airport’s future at risk” (Zaventem)


Limit the number of flights and ban weekend night operations at Brussels Airport, warns Flanders: “Airport’s future at risk” (Zaventem)

The latest advice to the Flemish government regarding a new environmental permit for Brussels Airport includes some striking conditions. These conditions propose capping the number of flight movements at the airport and tightening regulations for quiet weekend nights. This advice comes from the regional environmental permit committee (GOVC) and is considered to be the ultimate advice for the Flemish government, which is expected to make a decision by the end of March.

The GOVC recommends issuing a “conditionally favorable” advice for a new environmental permit for Brussels Airport, with the total number of flight movements limited to a maximum of 234,000 by 2030. This number is lower than what the airport operator anticipates by 2032. Additionally, the advice suggests stricter regulations for quiet weekend nights, prohibiting departures and landings between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on weekends starting in 2026, and from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. starting in 2030.

Another notable aspect of the advice is the proposal for airport operator Brussels Airport Company to pay 10 million euros annually to rail network operator Infrabel to reduce the Diabolo tax for train passengers. This aims to encourage more passengers to use trains to travel to and from the airport.

The advice from the regional environmental permit committee takes into account public feedback from a consultation period as well as advice from various stakeholders. Flemish Minister of the Environment Zuhal Demir acknowledges the “tough conditions” proposed in the advice and emphasizes the need to strike a balance between economic prosperity and environmental impact. The minister has until March 29 to make a decision on the new environmental permit.

Despite the strict conditions outlined in the advice, the Voka business network highlights the importance of Brussels Airport as an essential economic asset that should be given opportunities to grow with the economy. They emphasize the need to support the airport while also considering environmental concerns.

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