Belgian Minister of Mobility confirms Ryanair strategy to avoid paying Brussels Region noise fines

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The Ryanair pilots almost always take off from the threshold of runway 25R, said Minister of Mobility François Bellot in response to a parliamentary question.

Ryanair Boeing 737 EI-DCH taking off from Brussels Airport © Bram Botterman

According to the Member of the Parliament who questioned him, Tim Vandenput, who is also mayor of Hoeilaert (one of the cities affected by aircraft noise), Ryanair tries to avoid the fines for noise pollution over the Brussels-Capital Region by taking off “shorter”.

Belgocontrol has noted for several months that Ryanair’s pilots regularly request take-off from the threshold of the runway. If there is no problem for the air traffic controller, he will agree to the request. The air traffic controller cannot refuse such a request for safety reasons, as the pilot is the only one able to determine the required take-off distance according to the weight and performance of his aircraft and the weather conditions.indicated Minister Bellot.

Between 1 January and 30 September 2017, 98% of Ryanair take-offs were operated from the threshold of runway 25R (the most used for takeoff), the minister added in response to this written question from Vandenput. By way of comparison, only 13% of Ryanair takeoffs were operated from the runway threshold between 1 January and 30 September 2016.

In May 2017, newspaper “La Libre Belgique” revealed the development by Ryanair of a strategy of short takeoffs from Brussels Airport (starting from the runway threshold and then “pushing” the engines of the Boeing 737), in order to avoid paying fines for noise pollution imposed by the Brussels Region.

As early as Feburary 2017, Ryanair already moved all its departures from Brussels Airport after 07:00, when the Brussels noise standards are less stringent.

Ryanair contacted the newspaper to clarify its takeoff procedure: “all Ryanair takeoffs in Brussels are fully compliant with all standard operating procedures. We are investing billions of dollars in new aircraft (*), which will further reduce our noise footprint.”

(*) Ryanair has made an initial order of 100 Boeing 737 MAX 200 aircraft with options for 100 more, followed by an additional order for 10 more aircraft.

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