Brussels Airport has received a new environmental permit of unlimited duration

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Environment Minister Zuhal Demir has granted Brussels Airport a new environmental permit. This decision guarantees that the airport’s operations can continue in the coming years, but the permit contains strict additional operating conditions, both in terms of aircraft movements and noise, which impact the future of the airport.  First the European “Balanced Approach” regulation must be followed before such operating restrictions can be imposed.

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Brussels Airport was granted a new environmental permit of unlimited duration on Friday 29 March, by Flemish Environment Minister Demir. Brussels Airport’s previous environmental permit expires on 8 July 2024. This timely decision allows Brussels Airport to continue its activities. The new permit allows for growth and further development in the short term. Brussels Airport will continue to work hard on strengthening European and intercontinental connectivity for both passengers and cargo.

As an airport, Brussels Airport has always sought a balance between fulfilling its socio-economic role and ensuring connectivity, and the impact on the surroundings. And the airport will continue to do so, with sustainability as a number one priority within its strategy.

Based on a first analysis, the licence contains far-reaching operating restrictions. The restriction on the number of flight movements imposed by the licence jeopardises the future of the entire airport ecosystem. 240,000 flight movements per year gives a growth margin until 2032, however an adjustment will be necessary to allow for growth thereafter. In addition, the licence also contains strict noise reduction targets.

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Such operating restrictions can only be introduced after following the European “Balanced Approach” regulation. The outcome of this procedure will have to show whether the present measures can be effectively imposed or require adjustments. If these restrictions are implemented as such, they would lead to the airport having to cut back on its activities which would have a severe impact on the connectivity of our country and the socio-economic role of the airport, with today accounts for 64,000 direct and indirect jobs.

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Author: Edward Hardy