Since the beginning of November the international airport of Kortrijk-Wevelgem is back in full IFR force thanks to Belgocontrol’s service provision. Both partners look back satisfied on the first few weeks and now wish to work towards consolidating and extending the activities of the airport.
It was an amazing feat. In barely a year’s time Belgocontrol implemented the action plan that had been drawn up together with the people responsible for the airport in order to enable IFR operations (Instrument Flight Rules) again. New satellite navigation based flight procedures have been elaborated, six AFISO staff (Aerodrome Flight Information Service Officer) have been trained and meteo staff has been recruited so that they can offer their services at the airport. Belgocontrol made a 1.2 million euro investment available for the renewed activities, which are financed by the new management structure that is currently being set up for the airport, i.e. the NV Internationale Luchthaven Kortrijk-Wevelgem. The shareholders in this new structure are the provincial development agency of West Flanders (Provinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij or POM, 57%), the Flemish Region (33%) and the intercommunal company Leiedal (10%).
Under the impulse of the provincial development agency of West Flanders at the end of 2016, contacts were established with Belgocontrol for the transfer of air traffic control. The proposed deadline was met and on 9 November Belgocontrol started its activities at the airport. From now on, the company is responsible for flight information and for meteorological and technical services. That enables instrument flights again for general and business aviation, the airport’s main activity. As regards air traffic control, the AFISOs provide pilots with information, but not with instructions, unlike their colleagues at other airports.
Johan Decuyper, Belgocontrol CEO: “This is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Belgocontrol. Safety, customer focus and innovation are our core values. That is why we will keep up with technological advances that can help us continue to develop the airport together with the people in charge of the airport.”
Filip Daem, President of Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport: “In 2015-2017, the airport counted about 34,500 flight movements per year, of which around 4,000 with a business or commercial purpose. By bringing in Belgocontrol, we take a gigantic step forward in further developing and professionalizing the airport. That way, we wish to continue to expand the business aviation segment and increase our visibility as gateway to the world for entrepreneurial West-Flanders.”
Jean de Bethune, President of POM West-Flanders: “The past few months have been quite intense, but we are pleased to be able to facilitate IFR traffic again at the airport. The airport is an important economic asset for the whole region and links the industry by means of business flights with various European destinations. This approach requires considerable financial efforts, but we feel they are required to safeguard the international accessibility of West-Flanders, together with the Flemish Region and the intercommunal company Leiedal.”