Friday, May 12, 2017

Noise fines trigger Brussels freighter exodus

Noise fines imposed on carriers by the Brussels Capital Region are beginning to drive all-cargo airlines away, complains Brussels Airport.

After the departure of Yangtze River Express in February this year, full-freighter operator Air Cargo Global has sent written confirming that it is stopping all its activities at Brussels Airport because of the fines. Magma Aviation has also indicated that it will leave Brussels if the uncertainty is not removed in the next few weeks.

The airport says that of the six full-freighter carriers that operated with B747 aircraft, only four are left, adding: “The risk is real that more carriers will leave.”

Air Cargo Global cited the legal insecurity and financial risks due to the decision of Brussels Capital Region to drop the tolerance margin for noise fines for its decision to move its operations to Amsterdam and Prague.

Magma Aviation says it will leave in the next few weeks if the restrictions continue and has identified two alternative airports in other countries from where to continue its activities.

Yangtze River Express and Air Cargo Global moved nearly 20,000 tonnes of cargo through Brussels in 2016, about 12% of the Brussels total. Then airport warns that many jobs will inevitably be lost in Belgium.

Brussels Airport Company chief executive, Arnaud Feist, said: “The need for a stable legal framework and a permanent solution is more urgent than ever. As we argued at the end of April, the decision by the Brussels government to postpone the actual collection of the fines is no solution. This decision may have been made with good intentions, (but) it actually creates a period of uncertainty of one and a half to two years.”

Carriers have made their decision based on the notifications of fines they receive, not the actual fines the Brussels government makes known two years later, he argued, adding: “I call on all political parties concerned to halt the downward spiral that destroys the local and regional economic fabric in Belgium and reach a solution as soon as possible.”

(AirCargo News)

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