Brussels Airport should stop or reduce night flights, recommends study
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    Brussels Airport should stop or reduce night flights, recommends study

    Stopping or reducing night flights, improving infrastructure and taking more responsibility in noise management are among the main recommendations for Brussels Airport, according to a study conducted by French consultancy Envisa on the impact of the airport’s activities.

    “We do not think that night operations are coherent with this airport,” Envisa noted in the study which lays out recommendations for the future.

    “Eliminating or reducing the importance of night operations over time would contribute, in our opinion, to restoring confidence and respect between the airport and the surrounding operations,” the French experts recommended. “Many airports of the same nature in Europe completely ban night flights.

    “There are many opportunities for developing an excellent enterprise based on the demand for access to the Belgian and European capital. In the final analysis, however, it’s a political decision.”

    The report also highlights the importance of the role of Brussels Airport, stressing that it “needs to shoulder its responsibility in the noise problem” since “it generates plane movements coming into and departing from its compound.”

    “So far, the facts seem to indicate that the airport does not take the initiative of managing the noise issue, preferring to leave the problem to other operational actors such as Skeyes or the federal or regional governments,” it noted. “In actual fact, it seems the airport is protected, to a large extent, by the Flemish political and regional institutions.”

    According to the experts, the airport infrastructure could also be improved to facilitate quieter departures and arrivals. “Why aren’t these investments made?” they asked, referring to major investments in marketing outlets within the airport, for example.

    “Infrastructural changes for runways, such as the creation of new taxiways and the installing of new equipment, would make it possible to increase the smooth handling of traffic demand, cater for all meteorological conditions, increase capacity and safety, and reduce noise impact.”

    Finally, “although the airport/Skeyes has a sophisticated noise and trajectory control, it is not used to its full potential,” Envisa noted.

    “More could be done, like monitoring flight trajectories (with regard to schedules) and the attendant noise levels,” the consultancy recommended, adding that “significant performance indicators need to be developed for noise impact, and targets need to be set for future improvement.”

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times