IATA hits out at proposed Brussels night flight ban

Source: Brussels Airport

Airline association IATA has labelled plans to introduce a night flight ban at Brussels Airport as premature.

In mid-July, Belgian mobility minister Georges Gilkinet proposed a ban on night flights at the airport between 11pm and 6am from October 2024.

IATA said the curfew would predominantly hit cargo flights, which would in turn have an impact on Beglium’s pharma exports that rely on air transport.

Among the routes that would be threatened by a ban are connections to Africa – one of the world’s fastest-growing economic regions.

IATA said that the proposal was premature and ignored Belgium’s obligations under the European Union (EU)’s Balanced Approach and bilateral air service agreements.

“The Balanced Approach explicitly states that flight restrictions should be applied as a last resort, only after a detailed consultation and cost-benefit analysis, and when the noise benefits to be gained from other possible measures of the Balanced Approach have been exhausted,” IATA said.

The airline association’s regional vice president for Europe, Rafael Schvartzman, explained: “The noise concerns of the community around Brussels airport must be heard, but it is profoundly unfortunate that Minister Gilkinet has attempted to circumvent the Balanced Approach, which is the long-accepted and successful international process for managing airport noise impacts.

“The Balanced Approach specifically helps to mitigate noise while protecting the benefits of air connectivity for the economy and community both near the airport and across Belgium as a whole, not least in terms of thousands of jobs.

It is vital that the government scrap this proposal and instead engage in a meaningful consultation with stakeholders.”

The proposal also restricts noise at other times of the day, affecting a raft of older aircraft types, including Airbus A320s and A330s, alongside Boeing 737s, 767s and 747s.

The proposal from Gilkinet, who is a member of the Ecolo green party, still needs to win support from government coalition partners.

The move echoes a similar attempt to reduce the number of flights that operate out of Schiphol Airport partly on noise grounds.

The plans were blocked by a Dutch court in April but in July an appeal court sided with the Dutch government if the plans were on an experimental basis.

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Court blocks move to cut Schiphol flights

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]