ACI Europe calls for review of environment permit set to curb cargo at Liege
13 / 01 / 2023
Airports Council International (ACI) Europe has said a new environmental permit will see cargo specialist Liege Airport lose business to competitors.
The association of airport operators called for a review of the environment permit that is expected to curb cargo operations at the Belgium airport – which is already reporting reduced volumes – and see shippers, forwarders and airlines to turn to other airports in Europe.
In September last year, Liege Airport said it would appeal to the Walloon government over the 20-year environmental permit because of limits on flights and noise.
Now, ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec has called upon the Walloon government to urgently amend the permit – and reconsider both the maximum limit imposed of 50,000 aircraft movements and the planned reduction of the new noise quota for night flights.
The association said these would “not only hinder the development of Liège Airport’s activities” but “would also condemn it to decline by irreparably compromising its current activities”.
It stressed: “Far from disappearing completely, these activities would certainly be transferred to one or more other airports in Europe.”
Liege Airport’s 2020-2040 master plan, approved in December 2020 by its Board of Directors and the Walloon government, foresees 67,000 movements at its peak and no limitations on night flights.
Jankovec stated: “No one disputes the need to regulate airport activities in order to limit their environmental impact as much as possible and ensure the conditions for sustainable development.
However, it is clear that some of the conditions currently set out in the environmental permit for Liège airport would put an end to what is a real success story for Wallonia – thus depriving the region of a powerful engine for its economy, employment and social cohesion.
“The approach advocated by this environmental permit is all the more incomprehensible given that Liège airport is recognised at European level as ‘best in class’ in terms of managing its environmental impact, particularly with regard to noise.
“The Walloon region has moreover distinguished itself over the last twenty years by a proactive policy aimed at limiting the impact of noise pollution from the airport while ensuring the sustainability of its activities.
“I therefore urge the Walloon Government today to make the environmental permit fully compatible with the airport development plan that it itself has supported and endorsed.”