10 September 2004
BRUSSELS – A noise reduction plan at Brussels Zaventem airport has raised serious safety concerns, it was reported on Friday.
A study carried out by the Dutch Airport and Aviation Consultancy (AAC) concludes that the new measures have “reduced the margins of security.”
The fears centre around the more frequent use of the shortest runway ‘02’ where planes land and often cross paths with planes taking off from runway ‘07’ on the right.
The airport’s administration, Biac, commissioned the report in spring 2004 to evaluate the ‘Anciaux’ plan on reducing airport noise pollution.
Bert Anciaux, who was environment minister until June, introduced the controversial plan in March despite strong objections from political opponents and even some government colleagues.
The plan has considerably altered the procedures for take off and landing at the airport, under its “Noise Preferential Runway System.”
The 78 page report, leaked to Le Soir, does not make any political judgement on the noise reduction plan but makes an objective assessment of safety procedures.
It points out that in the majority of airports, runways of a similar length and quality are used and that shorter runways, such as ‘02’, are only used exceptionally.
For the past 30 years, runway 02 was used as a substitute runway, but since the Verhofstadt administration introduced its plan to disperse noise around the airport, it has been used intensively.
AAC is concerned by this and recommends that 02/20 should only be used for exceptional circumstances, for instance when a north or south wind is blowing.
The report concludes that technically it is “not a mature runway.”
One of the biggest safety problems is that planes landing on this runway fly over densely populated areas of Brussels such as Wolowe-Saint-Pierre, Crainhem, Wezembeek-Oppem and Zaventem.
The AAC points out the chilling fact that 93 percent of civilian air accidents occur on landing.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news