“We can not afford to say we do not need an airport or only want a small airport,” says Bernard Gustin, CEO of Brussels Airlines.
“We need to expand the airport and stop overflying Brussels as it is happening now.” That is what Bernard Gustin, CEO of Brussels Airlines, said during an interview on the 15th anniversary of the airline. Gustin calls for “national unity” in which all stakeholders work together on a long-term plan for the airport. “This is about more than two or three thousand jobs,” he stressed.
“We can not allow to say we do not need an airport or we want only a small one,” said Gustin. According to him, an airport and connectivity are essential for economic development.
That is certainly true for Brussels, with its status as capital of Europe. “I could not understand that Brussels Airport, which has a bigger market than, for example Amsterdam, should serve only 21 million passengers, while Schiphol (Amsterdam airport) has more than 63 million,” said Gustin.
He emphasises that his company, which is the biggest customer of the airport, wants to grow. “Behind us stands Lufthansa (that since early this year has been the sole owner of Brussels Airlines) and they want to grow here because their other hubs are nearly saturated.” If the stricter noise regulation becomes effective over Brussels, it would cost Brussels Airlines “several million euros“.
The CEO calls to stop threats and to find solutions. “I can not imagine that there is no solution possible for Brussels Airport which reconciles economic and environmental interests“, he says.
“It is necessary to talk with each other and decisions must be made,” added Gustin. “We have to get rid of the short-term, there is a need for a strong and clear plan with commitments over several years that says’ We are going to grow in harmony with the environment.”
For Gustin a link must be created again between Brussels and the airport, “in the image of Antwerp and its port.”