Expatica news

DHL could quit Belgium

21 January 2004

BRUSSELS – International courier firm DHL has made it clear that it could pull out of Belgium if it is not allowed to expand its activities at Zaventem airport on the outskirts of Brussels.

In an interview with Belgium’s ‘Le Soir’ newspaper DHL’s commercial director Xavier Bock said his company would not consider itself obliged to keep its European ‘hub’ in Belgium if its Zaventem expansion plans are blocked.

Asked whether DHL would automatically accept an offer to shift its operations to another Belgian airport, probably in French-speaking Wallonia, if it is not allowed to increase its Zaventem activities, de Buck replied simply, “No.”

The company wants to increase the number of night flights its aircraft make from Zaventem to 34,000 a year by 2012. The firm says the move would create at least 5,400 new jobs in and around Zaventem.

But local residents are worried DHL’s plans would mean serious aircraft noise problems and many are opposed to the move. At present Zaventem has to respect a ceiling of 25,000 night flights a year.

Earlier this week Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said he wanted DHL to stay in Belgium, preferably at Zaventem.

But in order to get his way he will have to convince the authorities in Belgium’s Brussels region to agree with him.

And that could well be an uphill struggle.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news