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DHL threatens Brussels pull-out

Published on 27/09/2004

27 September 2004

BRUSSELS – Global courrier service DHL has threatened once again to veto Belgium as its European hub if it cannot increase the number of night flights it operates out of Zaventem airport near Brussels.

“If we are not given the 34 000 night flights we asked for, Brussels will never become the European hub of DHL,” said DHL Europe boss Peter Kruse at the weekend.

Brussels airport would simply become an entry point to the Benelux countries if the deal was refused, he warned.

Belgian authorities have been locked in stalemate with each other and the global courrier for weeks over the sensitive question.

Politicians are weighing up the risks of either losing jobs in the region or upsetting local residents and constituents who have protested against an increase in noisy night flights.

The least catastrophic solution in terms of job loss would be if DHL scales back its operation to 20 planes and 3100 staff.

But the most damaging scenario could see a reduction to two or three flights each night, and jobs slashed from the current 5400 to 1500.

And tour operators have now threatened to add to the job losses if their flights are diverted away from Zaventem in favour of DHL.

Thomas Cook, the largest tourist operator in Belgium has warned of court action if it loses flight slots to allow DHL to increase its business.

Meanwhile, negotiations have also been crippled by political in-fighting between the Belgian regional governments.

Steve Stevaert, SP.A president, has now threatened to cut off financing to the Brussels region if it continues to block the dossier to the detriment of Flanders.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news