Belgium announces stricter noise standards for Brussels Airport

Belgium announces stricter noise standards for Brussels Airport
Credit: Belga

Belgium will implement stricter standards to combat noise pollution for Brussels Airport in Zaventem in a bid to push airlines into modernising their fleets more quickly, announced Federal Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet.

While Brussels Airport Zaventem is technically located in Flanders, it falls under the competency of the Federal Government. Still, studies have repeatedly shown that Brussels residents are heavily impacted by its noise pollution.

"I consider it imperative to review the maximum allowable noise quota at Brussels Airport to encourage airlines to renew their fleets as soon as possible," states a policy letter from Federal Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet seen by Belga News Agency.

The aim is to reduce the "noise load" of air traffic, especially during the "most sensitive times of the day," especially early in the morning, during evenings and nights, as well as weekends and holidays.

'Work in progress'

"In addition to the planned operating restrictions, a revision of the permissible noise values according to the time of day and day of the week will develop a mechanism for modulating the terminal charges levied by the air traffic controller Skeyes," the policy letter added.

So far, Gilkinet's office has not provided any further explanation on these new terminal charges, how they will be calculated or what they will mean as it is a "work in progress." The new system is scheduled to come into force in early 2023.

With this decision, Gilkinet wants to break the deadlock in the politically delicate dossier of flight routes from the airport in Zaventem. He already commissioned a study on the impact of flights over Brussels and the airport's surroundings, and he also wants to commission a study on night flights, De Tijd reports.

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"The priority is to improve the quality of life and sleep of those living near the airport and reduce noise pollution. After years of stagnation, we want to shift up a gear," his cabinet said. "We are halfway through the legislature, it is time to take action. Brussels must not become the noise bin of Europe."

Brussels Airport has been asking for a "stable and coherent legal framework for the operations and sustainable development of the airport in its surroundings, including a solution to the Brussels noise fines" for a very long time, a spokesperson said.

"It remains to be seen whether the elaboration of the principles in the policy letter can lead to a sound solution."

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