The Belgian federal government mediation service for Brussels Airport isn’t very happy with a series of touch-and-go landings TUI fly Belgium performed. Yesterday between 10:00 and 16:30 (UTC +1), a Boeing 787-8 (registered OO-LOE) was constantly circling the airport at low altitude. “Not only did we receive 82 complaints, we also question the justification of these touch-and-goes in densely populated areas,” Brussels Airport mediator Philippe Touwaide said.
The circling 787 caused a lot of worried reactions on social media and disturbing phone calls, Mediator Philippe Touwaide said on Friday: “these phone calls came from the federal police as well as from the fire brigade, the Federal Public Service Interior, mayors and citizens.” They all said that an aicraft was flying at extremely low altitude (editorial note: 1,500 feet) above densely populated areas, other people thought that the aircraft suffered a technical issue and some suggested that the aircraft was dumping fuel.
“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of our pilots are under technical unemployment,” explains TUI spokesman Piet Demeyere to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
“These touch-and-go landings are essential to keep the pilot’s licences valid. Normally, we operate these training flights at regional airports, but we have decided to stay at Brussels Airport, at last until February 2021,” he added.
Mediator Philippe Touwaide added that he was not aware of TUI fly Belgium’s intentions: “Only after research, we discovered that the aircraft operated the repeated patterns via runway 25L. I regret that we were not informed about the training flights, we could have informed the entire community around the airport via our social media channels.”
The mediator criticised the airline’s choice to carry out the test flights around Brussels Airport. “Does this really have to be done around and also so low above a densely populated area?” he added.