Home News Onkelinx takes dim view on DHL expansion

Onkelinx takes dim view on DHL expansion

Published on 03/09/2004

3 September 2004

BRUSSELS – International express courier DHL won’t win the go-ahead to expand operations at Brussels National Airport, according to Vice Prime Minister Laurette Onkelinx.

Onkelinx was quoted on Friday in De Tijd and Le Soir as saying it’s unlikely that DHL will be able to run the additional flights it wants.

The future of DHL at Zaventem has been in doubt ever since the firm, run by Deutsche Post, said it wanted to increase night flights from 25,000 to 34,000 a year by 2012.

DHL said the move would create at least 5,400 extra jobs in and around the airport and boost the local economy.

However, residents fear the move will generate too much noise and pollution.

The company has been waiting for approval for its plans since December and has hinted it could scale down or pull out of Belgium if they are blocked.

Workers in Brussels feared the worst in April after the German government won the right from the Commission to give EUR 70.8 million to DHL to encourage it to expand at Leipzig airport.

Back in January, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said: “DHL must keep its headquarters in Belgium, preferably in Brussels.”

However, ministers in the Brussels and Flanders regions have to give their backing too.

On Friday, Onkelinx said: “No decision will be taken without an agreement with the regions concerned”.

She said she was in favour of “alternative solutions” but stressed no solution had yet been found.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news