Ryanair delays flights to avoid noise fines

Low cost carrier Ryanair has decided to delay all flights from Brussels Airport until after 7AM. The airline is acting to avoid any fines now that the Brussels regional government has decided to fine noisy aircraft flying over its jurisdiction between the hours of 11PM and 7AM.

The operation to delay flights is no simple affair. Ryanair needs to find new departure slots at Zaventem and new arrival slots at its destinations. Rival TUI that operates more flights before 7AM has no plans to delay its departures.

The fines imposed by the Brussels Region count be as much as 5,000 euros making a Ryanair flight unprofitable. Roger Delye, secretary-general of BAR (Board of Airlines Representatives), warns that some operators are considering boycotting Brussels Airport, which by a quirk of history is located in the Flemish Region and not in Brussels. He notes that the noise norms imposed by the Brussels Region are the strictest in the entire world. Even low noise craft could incur a fine.

Ryanair's move comes as the Brussels regional government decided to impose the fines, but not to collect them for a two month period. The two month period corresponds with the delay on the implementation triggered by the Flemish government's decision to invoke a conflict of interest over this issue.