Liege Airport limits are set

Liege Airport

Liege Airport will be restricted to 55,000 movements per year by the Walloon Government but there is room for negotiation.

The Walloon Government has now decided on the terms of the 20-year environmental permit that was first contested by the cargo specialist in September 2022, because of limits on flights and noise.

This is a more favourable outcome than the maximum limit of 50,000 aircraft movements per year for aircraft over 34 tons set by the original permit.

But Liege Airport’s 2020-2040 master plan, approved in December 2020 by its board of directors, foresees 67,000 movements at its peak and no limitations on night flights. 

In a press release on January 30, the Walloon Government said: “Liège airport will thus be limited to 55,000 movements per year, excluding less than 34 tonnes and/or less than 19 passengers, which represent 15% of current movements. 

“Nevertheless, and in accordance with the legislation in force, Liège Airport can respond to the incomplete nature of the impact study to justify a request to increase the number of movements fixed in the system.”

The original permit also included an obligation to reduce aircraft noise by 5% per year from 2024 as well as a noise quota on night flights.

In its most recent statement, the government said it had introduced a noise quota (specified in table below) with a gradual decrease in the level of noise allowed after 11pm up until 2033.

Noise quota at Liege Airport specified by Walloon Government

Source: Walloon Government

Liege Airport said in a statement: “Liege Airport takes note of the Walloon Government’s decision and salutes the work done by both the administration and the members of the Government. We would like to thank the various Ministers for their understanding of the crucial role that the airport plays in the Liege region and, more broadly, for Wallonia.

“For the companies and the thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the airport ecosystem, this decision is a positive signal.

“Liege Airport’s Board of Directors and management will take the time to analyse the new permit in detail and decide, if necessary, what action to take.”

The airport added it is already taking an active role to reduce its impact on the environment.

“With the help of Sowaer, our environmental policy has been in place for several years now (massive buy-outs and soundproofing of buildings, renewable energies, energy savings, quieter aircraft, etc.),” explained chief executive Laurent Jossart.

He added: “Let’s do everything we can to decarbonize aviation. Let’s act from within and develop our multimodal collaborations to replace air travel whenever possible. Our airport site is continuing its exchanges with logistics partners in this direction.

“Let’s build a greener airport together and let’s transform our economy towards ever more sustainability.”

Earlier this month, Airports Council International (ACI) Europe said the permit would curb cargo volumes at Liege Airport, and see it lose business to competitors.

The airport registered a double-digit percentage decline in air cargo volumes last year.

ACI Europe calls for review of environment permit set to curb cargo at Liege

Liege Airport appeals permit that will reduce “activities drastically and rapidly”

Liege Airport’s cargo volumes take a hit

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]