The provincial Walloon Government has decided to limit the number of aircraft movements at Liège Airport (LGG) to 55,000 per year. In the initial permit, the politicians intended to cap operations more radically, allowing only 50,000 annually to reduce the noise and greenhouse gas emissions caused by air traffic. In a first statement, airport spokesman, Christian Delcourt, reacted cautiously positive to the government’s decision.
“55,000 movements per year is still 5,000 more than we were originally granted by the responsible politicians,” says Mr. Delcourt. In this respect, the airport’s appeal against the first
decision has paid off, he adds. All the more so as roughly 28,000 aircraft operated at LGG last year. “This means that the new permit would allow us to double the number of annual
movements,” an executive told CargoForwarder Global. However, in its appeal the airport had requested an official approval for as many as 67,000 arrivals and departures per year.
Even though this maximum target was clearly missed, the revised permit enables Liège Airport to grow further in compliance with clear environmental protection criteria, states Mr. Delcourt.
Next, the airport management will carefully analyze the 260-page written statement on the ruling and take a stand, he indicates. "Our spontaneous response is based on a written submission of only two pages.” The notification was prompted by the Walloon Ministers of Land Management and Environment, following severe internal disputes.
And there are further restrictions commencing in 2024
Aircraft whose noise quota per take-off surpasses the limits documented in a table, are banned from operating at LGG between 23:00h and 07:00h. The permitted noise quota is further reduced each consecutive year. All other aircraft complying with noise guidelines are allowed to operate 24/7/365.
However, this only applies to a limited extend to the Boeing 747-400F. Come 2030, the mighty jumbo freighters will no longer be permitted to depart from Liège at night between 11pm and 7am for noise reasons. “Thanks to this rather long adaption period, airlines can adjust to it beginning immediately,” states Liège’s communications officer.
In a press release, the airport management thanks the Walloon politicians for their understanding of the crucial role that the airport plays for the region and the entire Belgian province. They speak of a “positive signal” given by the decision for the local economy and thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the airport ecosystem.
Putting the focus on environmental aspects
The press release further states that Liège Airport is aware of the growing environmental challenges and wants to play its part in the current climate momentum: “Our environmental policy has been in place for several years controlling soundproofing steps, measures to save energy, and other environmental guidelines,” explains CEO, Laurent Jossart, who adds this appeal: “Let’s do everything to decarbonize aviation. Let’s build a greener airport in collaboration with our logistics partners and transform our economy towards more sustainability.” Finally, the executive points out that Liège Airport continues to grow and will remain attractive for the air cargo industry. This is proven by the recent arrival of the newcomer, MSC Air Cargo, and the decision of Air Canada Cargo to integrate Liège in its global network. These are strong signals to the market, Mr. Jossart concludes. The executive is convinced that the new guard rails set by the Walloon government for air operations at Liège will not change this trend.
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