Brussels Airport stages "counter-attack" in the papers

A number of Belgian newspapers show a major advert in their weekend edition, the size of a whole page, issued by Brussels Airport. Belgium's national airport in Zaventem wants to counter recent reports and quotes of all kind, supplying its own truth by giving 5 facts. The aim is to set things straight for the public at large and to force the political world to stop the bickering and make clear choices in connection with the flight paths.

Brussels Airport has been in the news again in recent days and weeks, in connection with the noise nuisance regulations imposed by the Brussels Region. These are more stringent than the Flemish ones.

Zaventem may be located in Flemish Brabant, many aircraft are flying above Brussels territory for take-off due to the dominating south-westerly-winds, as the airport is located just north-east of the capital. Two cargo carriers already decided to leave Zaventem because they are no longer allowed to overfly Brussels. This is because Brussels is adopting zero tolerance for planes exceeding noise norms. Other cargo carriers may follow.

"Scrapping cargo services would be economic suicide"

In the whole discussion, Brussels Airport felt they also had to publish their point of view. These are their 5 truths:

  • Each day sees 3,000 Brussels residents and 14,600 Flemings work at Brussels Airport
  • The number of local residents suffering from noise nuisance has seen a 50 percent drop since 2000
  • Brussels Airport is not the only airport situated close to a major city (BA is 11 km from the capital, given examples are Paris (19), Madrid (13), Amsterdam (11), Zuerich (9) and Lisbon (7)
  • Scrapping cargo services at BA would be suicide from an economic and social point of view
  • Fresh (and more coherent, red.) legislation should end the "Kafkaesque" situation

"Please end the Kafkaesque situation"

Nathalie Van Impe, spokeswoman for Brussels Airport, says "a lot of lies and half-truths are being told. That's why it is very important to set some things straight, on behalf of the 60,000 people working at the airport."

Van Impe claims that some 4,500 jobs have already been lost since the stringent noise norms apply, and that more will follow if nothing changes. She added that the Kafkaesque situation has to end. "Now, pilots obeying the instructions issued by Belgocontrol (a federal body), can be fined because they violate the Brussels rules."