Brussels to start fining planes overflying city at night, but conflict of interest with Flemish areas
Brussels Zaventem airport has started fining planes that overfly the Brussels region if they exceed certain noise limits. The fines will be over the period of 11pm to 7am. The crucial period is 6 to 7am. It is thought that the fines could be around €5,000 – €10,000 per plan for an average plane, but with a range of fines from €1,300 – 62,000. The higher level fines are unlikely. Ryanair calculated its fines might be €6,000. Thomas Cook estimated they would be in the €1,200-2,000 range. If a flight is scheduled to arrive at 06:50 but does not reach the Brussels runway before 07:00 it would avoid the fine, unless it exceeds the daytime noise limits. However, there is – and has been for decades – a conflict of interest between the Flemish (northern) and French speaking parts of the city. The fines are for the French speaking areas, meaning planes will preferentially fly over the Flemish areas, to avoid the charges. Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts filed an initial conflict complaint at the end of last year, which froze the introduction of the new limits for 60 days. As that term has now expired with no agreement reached, the Flemish Community filed a new complaint. Brussels said it was not ready to observe another 60-day delay and that it would administer fines, though it would not, for the time being, make the airlines pay.
Brussels starts handing out fines for aircraft noise
Despite another conflict of interest complaint filed by the Flemish Community, the Brussels government says it will begin fining airlines from breaching its new aircraft noise regulations
The debate on aircraft noise over the Brussels-Capital Region continued this week, as Brussels went ahead to impose fines on airlines exceeding the strict, new limits in defiance of a conflict of interest claim filed by the Flemish Community.
A conflict of interest may be filed by one government when the actions of another have an effect on its region’s interests. In this case, because aircraft taking off from and landing at Brussels Airport in Zaventem have to change their routes to avoid passing over Brussels, the burden of noise nuisance falls on the municipalities in the Flemish periphery of the capital.
Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts filed an initial conflict complaint at the end of last year, which froze the introduction of the new limits for 60 days. As that term has now expired with no agreement reached, the Flemish Community filed a new complaint.
Brussels said it was not ready to observe another 60-day delay and that it would administer fines, though it would not, for the time being, make the airlines pay. The fines are likely to apply to about 8% of the flights taking off from runway 25R, the busiest at the airport (pictured). That would affect about 7,200 of the runway’s 90,000 flights a year.
But that figure is an average for the whole day. The crucial hour is between 6.00 and 7.00; noise limits on night flights used to end at 6.00 but, under the new noise limit rules, last until 7.00. During that hour, according to Weyts, 39% of flights taking off from the runway could be liable for fines.
The next step is not clear, according to constitutional experts. For Brussels to ignore a conflict of interest complaint does not change the fact that the new limits are legally suspended, but it will be up to the airlines to fight against any attempt to make them pay fines.
BRUSSELS REGION NOISE REGULATION: AIRLINES MAY FACE FINES OF UP TO €682,000 ON DAY ONE
by Bart Noëth
21 February, 2017 (www.luchtzak.be)
Tonight from 00:00 till 7:00 (and from 23:00 till 7:00 on the following days), the Brussels region will fine overflying aircraft exceeding the nighttime noise limits2.
Based on projections by newspaper De Tijd1, airlines might face likely fines comprised between €5,000 and 10,000 (€1,300-62,000 are the minimum/maximum). However it is unlikely that the fines will reach the maximum limit: Ryanair calculated its fines might be €6,000. Thomas Cook estimated they would be in the €1,200-2,000 range. And a flight scheduled at 06:50 will not reach Brussels before 07:00 and will thus avoid being fined, unless it exceeds the daytime limits.
Looking at tomorrow’s 11 flights before 07:00, following airlines will face a fine (x times a fine between brackets):
TUI fly (3) – Lufthansa (1) – Brussels Airlines (4) – KLM (1) – SWISS (1) – HOP! (1)
Fines might thus be between €55,000 and 110,000 in total (minimum €14,300- maximum €682,000)
Flight for: 22/02/2017 based on Brusselsairport.com
06:00 TB3051 Boa Vista
06:05 TB3261 Malaga
06:15 SK2594 Copenhagen Kastrup
06:15 TP611/SN6401 Lisbon
06:15 TB3113 Tenerife Sur Reina Sofia
06:20 LH2295/SN7065/A31423 Munich
06:25 SN2711/LX4551 Geneva
06:25 SN3153/SQ2803 Milan Malpensa
06:30 SN2701/LX4531 Basel Mulhouse EuroAirport Swiss
06:30 TB3181 Gran Canaria/Las Palmas
06:35 KL1720 Amsterdam Schiphol
06:35 A54311/AF5354 Lyon St Exupery
06:50 SN3631/UA9943 Paris Charles De Gaulle
06:50 LX771/SQ2971/SN5101 Zurich
(1) De Tijd uitgelegd: hoe hoog zijn de boetes
(2) – In zone 0 : day Lsp (7-23h) = 55 dB(A) / night Lsp (23-7h) = 45 dB(A)
– In zone 1 : day Lsp (7-23h) = 60 dB(A) / night Lsp (23-7h) = 50 dB(A)
– In zone 2 : day Lsp (7-23h) = 65 dB(A) / night Lsp (23-7h) = 55 dB(A)
Zone 2 is the extreme East of the Brussels Region, Zone 1 is a small area next to it, and Zone 0 covers the majority of the Region.
Brussels Airport plans massive extension
by Alan Hope,
17.11..2016 (Flanders Today)
The construction of the longest runway in Europe at Brussels Airport is a cause for concern among local residents, according to information leaked to the press
Bad news for de rand?
Plans by Brussels Airport to extend one of its runways to become the longest in Europe are causing rumblings of protest in the municipalities of de rand, or the Flemish periphery around Brussels. The plans were leaked to Het Nieuwsblad.
The main element of the plan is the extension of runway 25L to a length of four kilometres, an addition of 800 metres, in the direction of Erps-Kwerps. That would allow the runway to be used for take-offs as well as landings.
But local residents fear an increase in aircraft noise, not only because of growth in the number of flights, but also because more people would be affected. According to Eric Van Rompuy, councillor in charge of town planning for Zaventem, where the airport is located, planes would be able to take off directly over the centre of the town, then turn left to fly over Sterrebeek and Tervuren.
“Flights over Brussels could be limited, with the nuisance being passed on to the eastern periphery,” he told Belga newswire. “That is unacceptable.”
For Frederic Petit, mayor of Wezembeek-Oppem, the extended runway is a means of relieving airlines of the burden of paying fines for noise nuisance. At present, airlines are faced with fines if they do not respect the strict noise limits in force over the capital.
“Brussels Airport Company will avoid that by reducing the number of flights over Brussels and send more planes out over Flanders,” said Petit. “In practice, planes taking off from runway 25L will fly at very low altitude over Sterrebeek, Tervuren, Wezembeek and so on.”
Brussels Airport has so far declined to comment on the leaked plans.