A group of senior executives from companies in and around the aviation sector has written an open letter pleading for the government to step in to ensure the future of Brussels Airport.
The list of top names includes the CEOs of Brussels Airport and Brussels Airlines, TUI, DHL, Aviapartner, Swissport, KPMG and others.
“The corona attack at Brussels Airport hits the economy at its heart. After the port of Antwerp, the national airport is the largest economic engine in our country, good for 24,000 direct and 40,000 indirect jobs and an added value of 3.2 billion euros,” the letter reads.
“Brussels Airlines stands for thousands of direct and a multitude of indirect jobs and is a crucial player in the hub of Brussels Airport. Airline TUI is also an important job engine. Tens of thousands of families are earning an income thanks to the activities at the airport, not only in Flanders but also increasingly in Brussels and Wallonia.”
Activity in and around the airport has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The terminals are still open, but only a handful of passengers pass through the airport each day. The sector is expected to take a long time to emerge from the deep depression it finds itself in. As a result, the CEOs write, many companies may not make it through to the other side.
“We absolutely must avoid that the corona crisis causes a heart attack with irreparable damage to the airport. After corona, the airport has to be there again to fully play its role as the engine of the economy,” the letter says.
“When international connections are lost together with the airport companies involved, they may be permanently lost and taken over by neighbouring countries. That is why we, business leaders from the broad airport community, issue this cry for help and call on those responsible for policy to make an appropriate contribution to safeguarding the airport’s strategic role.”
And they offer a number of recommendations:
Ensure that otherwise healthy companies do not go under as a result of the crisis.
Make sure companies come out of the crisis in a fit and healthy state to compete on a world level. Safeguard the logistics sector to ensure the supply chain for the entire country.
“There can be no high-performance industry without high-performance logistics, in which air transport is an essential factor.”