Brussels Airport partners (Brussels Airlines, TUIfly, DHL Express, Belgocontrol) strengthen environmental cooperation

The signatories of the agreement, from left to right: Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI Europe; Philippe Merlo, Director European Civil-Military Aviation et Eurocontrol; Arnaud Feist, CEO Brussels Airport Company; Johan Decuyper, CEO Belgocontrom; Gunther Hofman, Managing Director TUI fly Benelux; Frédéric Paepe, Director Flight Operations Brussels Airlines; Peter Claes, Director Airport Affairs& Security at DHL Express © André Orban

Belgocontrol and Brussels Airport Company have signed a cooperation agreement with Brussels Airlines, TUI Fly and DHL Express, on undertaking joint initiatives that further reduce the environmental impact of aviation activities. EUROCONTROL and airport trade association, ACI Europe, support and recognise this initiative on ‘Collaborative Environmental Management (CEM)’ at Brussels Airport.

Most of the press was absent from this event, except for press agency Belga. is proud to be one of the only media present to report about it.

By signing the cooperation agreement, the five partners formalise their long-standing cooperation on environmental issues. By joining forces and aligning all environmental efforts, the partners aim to accelerate projects and achieve more in the fields of carbon and noise reduction as well as local air quality. That is why specialists from the various companies and organisations will meet at regular intervals to launch joint research and environmentally-friendly initiatives.

In its Strategic Vision 2040, Brussels Airport committed itself to develop the airport in a balanced way. Some measures can also be taken by individual companies. However, continuing to reduce the environmental impact of our operations requires the expertise, collaboration and commitment of multiple businesses” says Brussels Airport Company CEO, Arnaud Feist.

Johan Decuyper, Belgocontrol CEO: “Belgocontrol already took environmental measures in the past. We execute more and more continuous descent operations or “green landings” on several airports. We work closely together with the wind turbine sector to facilitate the construction of wind turbines without risking the safety of air traffic. We collaborate with various universities and research institutions to investigate other possible measures to further reduce the impact of air traffic on the environment. This CEM collaboration will help us gain new insights and take more initiatives together with our partners.”
Johan Decuyper joked that, with this agreement, Arnaud Feist was 20 years in advance with his 2040 Strategic Vision for Brussels Airport.
The ‘collaborative environmental management’ concept (CEM) was developed by EUROCONTROL, the European organisation committed to making air traffic management safer, more efficient, more cost-effective and with a minimal environmental impact. The concept outlines a working arrangement for devising common solutions to environmental challenges at and around airports.
Signature of the environmental cooperation agreement © André Orban

Philippe Merlo, Director European Civil-Military Aviation at EUROCONTROL:CEM is a practical example of how EUROCONTROL supports aviation – not only now but in the future, too. With CEM, we facilitate collaborative solutions for environmental issues, allowing us to mitigate our sector’s environmental impact and to contribute to high-performance, sustainable airports.”

Privately, Philippe Merlo explained to us that Eurocontrol examines not only all aspects of a flight from gate to gate, but even before and after the flight (customs, border police, controls, etc.) in order to speed up all the processes.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI EUROPE:We are delighted to see Brussels Airport join the increasing number of European airports adopting Collaborative Environmental Management. As detailed in our Recommended Practice on CEM*, its value is that it takes into account the interdependencies between different aspects of airport operations, facilitating the creation of new efficiencies that can reduce the environmental impact of air transport. In this way, Brussels Airport’s engagement in CEM is a perfect fit for their recent achievement of becoming a carbon neutral airport operator.”

Christina Foerster, CEO of Brussels Airlines, was represented by Frédéric Paepe, Director Flight Operations: “As an airline, we take our environmental responsibility very seriously. The closer cooperation with key-stakeholders of the airport allows us to join forces and to find common solutions to the environmental challenges we are all facing at and around the airport”.

In a private interview with us, Frédéric Paepe explained how the agreement could be implemented at Brussels Airlines: continuous descent, but also climbing; operation on one engine after landing, pushback only after taxiways are clear for an immediate take-off, etc.

Gunther Hofman, Managing Director of TUI fly Benelux:TUI is the world’s leading tourism business, with a real opportunity to shape the future of sustainable tourism. We recognise our responsibility to pioneer and influence change for more sustainability travel. Our Better Holidays, Better World strategy demonstrates ambitious goals for the future. We already operate the most carbon-efficient airlines in Europe, have a strong history of backing new, Carbon-saving + noise-reducing technologies and support progressive climate policies for aviation. The young fleet of TUI fly Benelux includes the most modern aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 737 MAX. Both aircraft produce significantly less noise, use less fuel, fly further and have a strongly reduced carbon footprint. TUIfly and TUI Airways were named ‘ most climate-efficient airline in on medium haul flights’ in the atmosfair Airline Index 2017. We are leading the way by showing that more efficient flying is possible.

The signed agreement © André Orban

Peter Caes, Director Airport Affairs & Security of DHL Express: “Sustainability has since long become one of the most important issues of our time. Our contribution to greater sustainability around the world is green logistics. To realize a more sustainable future we think it’s important to think big. Deutsche Post DHL Group has a climate change protection target of zero emissions by 2050. In this regard, all initiatives count. DHL Express looks forward to cooperating with key-stakeholders of the airport in supporting the objectives of this initiative at Brussels Airport”.

After the ceremony © André Orban

What is ‘collaborative environmental management’?

EUROCONTROL has developed the concept of Collaborative Environmental Management to support and facilitate the collaboration among core operational stakeholders. This concept has been translated into the CEM Specification with the support of ACI Europe.

The CEM working arrangement provides a platform for discussion and allows core operational stakeholders to identify synergies, quantify impacts and reach compromises from an operational, environmental perspective. In addition, the collaborative approach of the CEM working arrangement can support the search for solutions that ensure the maximum potential for current operations and the sustainable growth of the airport.

The working arrangements aim:

  1. to look at the short- and long-term challenges and develop a shared environmental vision and strategy
  2. to develop common key performance indicators, action plans to minimize environmental impacts including at least, noise, local air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, the three most critical environmental priorities for airport operators
  3. to improve de-icing operations and reduce the associated impacts on the environment
  4. to promote a better understanding of the business interdependencies between airports, airlines and ANSP (Air Navigation Service Provider)
  5. to support sustainable growth of the airport
  6. to support ISO 14001:2015 certification (clause 4.2 – Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties), ISO 50001 certification and maintain the Level 3+ status (carbon neutral°) within the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
  7. to propose and validate (simulations, live trials…) new operational concepts based on a win-win sharing of expertise and tools
  8. to facilitate compliance to European Single Sky Implementation Plan (LSSIP ENV02 objective)

* ACI EUROPE’s Recommended Practise on CEM can be found here:


  1. DHL : noise reduction??????,
    With airplanes + 25 years old, at 3am overflying densly populaties areas????????


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