29 September 2004
BRUSSELS – Global courier DHL is facing new demands from the Belgian government as the saga over its planned expansion continues.
The Belgian authorities have asked DHL for new clarifications on the upgrading of its fleet before giving the go-ahead for increased night flights to expand its business.
A meeting of Belgian federal and regional authorities was interrupted on Tuesday night by news that DHL had reneged on its previous commitments to switch to less noisy aircraft.
In recent days the company has spoken of using its noisy MD11 planes for 16 flights every night.
This differs from the company’s original intentions to use the planes much less.
A compromise plan submitted to regional authorities stated that only four night flights would use this type of plane and that all aircraft would be replaced by the quieter Boeing 777 in five years time.
According to Deputy Prime Ministers Laurette Onkelinx, Didier Reynders and Johan Vande Lanotte, aircraft engineers say the fleet could be modernised much quicker that DHL has indicated.
Vande Lanotte said no fixed deadline had been given for DHL’s response but that he hoped the company would furnish one as soon as possible.
Onkelinx warned that a negative response would put an end to negotiations as DHL had been given clear obligations on employment and noise levels.
Reynders said DHL must clarify that is willing to invest quickly in the Boeing 777 as soon as it becomes available on the market in 2010.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news