Mobility minister pictured on Brussels-Antwerp flight

Flemish mobility minister Lydia Peeters (liberal) says she can understand she is being criticised as she was pictured on board an airplane flying from Brussels to Antwerp. Flying isn’t yet a criminal offence in Belgium but with little more than 40 kilometres separating the Flemish capital from the great metropolis Ms Peeters’s actions have triggered great anger.

Greenpeace wonders if the minister hasn’t noticed there’s a climate crisis. “Regional airports aren’t essential and a source of damaging and avoidable CO2 emissions” adds WWF.

The Flemish greens note “this is entirely the wrong signal. In several neighbouring countries short flights are being cancelled and investments are being made in rail services.  We would like to see the minister leading the way here instead of promoting an airline.”

So, why was Ms Peeters on board?  The flight wasn’t a shuttle but an initiative to highlight the reopening of regional airports.  Organisers include Philippe Bodson, a businessman, who organises private flights.

Ms Peeters says that she understands the criticism now being levelled at her person and that her presence at a news conference should have sufficed and there was no need to board the flight.

“I’m convinced there’s a future for regional airports in Flanders.  Of course the aviation sector must take action to become more sustainable.”

Jonas Roosens

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