11 December 2003
BRUSSELS – Freight and courier service DHL wants to expand its activities at Zaventem airport, with a doubling in the volume of night flights and the creation of 1,000 jobs.
But due to the recent passing of strict night flight limitations by the Belgian government, the Deutche Post-owned company has asked that a choice be made between new jobs and investment in the economy, and noise pollution.
The company is awaiting the government’s go-ahead, stressing that night flights are vital to their survival – but they have no plans to move from their Brussels hub should the government’s decision prove to be negative.
Federal Mobility Minister Bert Anciaux maintains that Zaventem airport will not be able to manage a doubling in night flights, saying that the increase in pollution will be too great.
Anciaux has suggested the company operate out of another Belgian airport so as to spread the amount of pollution caused. Last week his plan to spread night flights across several Brussels neighbourhoods was accepted by the government.
But some Brussels politicians and several residents groups are pushing for a complete stop to night flights operating in and out of Zaventem airport.
Flemish Economy Minister Patricia Ceyssens has said it is important that DHL stay in Belgium – she is prepared to give the company support if DHL is prepared to use less noisy planes.
A decision on DHL’s expansion is due next month.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Belgian news