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Brussels Airport flight path changes rejected

Photo: Pieter van Marion/Flickr Commons
10:50 09/07/2014

A plan by federal transport minister Melchior Wathelet to change the flight paths of some flights arriving at and taking off from Brussels Airport has been shelved by his colleagues in the council of ministers. According to Wathelet’s cabinet, no consensus on the question could be found due to the objections of ministers from Flemish parties CD&V, Open VLD and SP.A.

Wathelet’s plan would have diverted some flights which currently pass over the Brussels municipalities of Etterbeek, Auderghem and Watermael-Boitsfort so that they instead passed over the “Ikea route” over the E40 and Sterrebeek, Kortenberg and Everberg. In May, the government of Flanders invoked a conflict of interests, claiming Wathelet was making a decision that would have a serious impact on Flanders without consulting the region’s government. That blocked the measures for 60 days, which ran out this week.

The core cabinet of top ministers was unable to agree on implementing the package, however, with opposition from ministers from the three Flemish parties in the acting federal coalition, who are also the three Flemish parties currently negotiating the creation of a coalition for the Brussels region. 

Photo: Pieter van Marion/Flickr Commons

Written by Alan Hope

Comments

Hugh Burnett

Like many thousands of others, yes, we've been affected. A reasonably tranquil, normal street in Watermael-Boitsfort - not full of stinking rich millionares in mansions but just normal people - was suddenly subject to the whining and roaring of climbing aircraft, with no due process of consultation or information. This is a densley populated area. There are far more green fields and open areas under the 'Ikea route'. Furthermore, most of the jobs at Zaventem go to inhabitants of the Flemish community, including many people living in the communes mentioned.

From personal and professional experience in and around major airports, we understand that Airports and their commercial expansion always have an impact on the surrounding areas. However, solutions need to be reasonable, transparent and sustainable. This case just seems like another instance of dysfunctional decision-making in the areas around the outskirts of Brussels, where regional loyalties get in the way of fair and balanced solutions. If I were cynical I could almost imagine it being done on purpose. But they wouldn't sink that low, surely?

Jul 9, 2014 22:06