The Federal Public Service Mobility of the Belgian government intends to reopen the third runway at Brussels Airport from Monday 15 June, in order to better distribute noise pollution, but the airport operator Brussels Airport Company refuses to do so due to high costs, financial newspaper L’Echo reports Wednesday.
Since the coronavirus crisis, one single of the three runways was enough to handle the much-reduced air traffic at Brussels Airport. Thus the airport decommissioned runway 07R/25L and air navigation service provider skeyes closed runway 01/19.
For several weeks, the planes therefore mainly used 25R, which led the municipalities in the north of Brussels and the Flemish periphery to bear 85% of the noise pollution, compared to 15% for the canal area in Brussels. This situation has given rise to numerous complaints, notwithstanding the fact that air traffic is almost at a standstill.
In response, Flemish Minister for the Environment Zuhal Demir and Federal Minister for Mobility François Bellot agreed to reuse all three runways to better distribute the pollution. On June 1, skeyes released runway 19 so that it could be used a few nights a week while Brussels Airport should, in principle, reopen the third runway 25 on June 15, especially as Brussels Airlines (which accounts for 40% of the traffic at Brussels Airport) and many other airlines will then gradually restart its operations.
But the management of Brussels Airport does not agree and refuses to reopen the third runway, because of the additional costs that this would imply for the airport, already heavily affected by the crisis. At a press conference last week, Brussels Airport CEO Arnaud Feist said he expected a loss of 200 million euros by year-end.