Currently, some think that Hadja Lahbib should go there to try to resolve this situation, others do not. “I think she’s open to that idea. She has my full confidence in a file that is extremely difficult. These visits should be the trigger for the situation.”
Liège Airport: a balance between all the issues
Another hot issue: Liège airport. For the moment, Willy Borsus is firmly opposed to the limitation of 50,000 air movements per year at this location as proposed by Céline Tellier, the Minister of the Environment. “I want a balance between the different priorities”, he explains. “First, there is the preservation of local residents, noise and pollution. Secondly, there is the importance of the economy and jobs. Nearly 10,000 people depend on it. By dint of attacking everything, we end up having nothing in our hands. Let’s not attack what is still today a jewel of the Walloon region.
For him, we too often forget that the Region has put a lot of money on the table at this airport. “We have invested nearly 700 million euros since the 2000s. In environmental measurement, we have bought 1,800 houses and insulated 3,800. This is considerable.”
The repercussions at 50,000 flights per year would be detrimental to investors. “Effectively, we cap their objective or their growth perspective. An economic activity that is marked out is intended to be supported and to develop. To counter this noise problem, we have adopted the noise exposure plan which provides for a reasoned development trajectory up to 60,000 movements over 10 years.”
For the politician MR, it is absolutely not necessary to attack a region often bruised by the lack of work. “Our region is too often singled out for its unemployment problems. Are we going to destroy this image a little more?”
The other problem concerns relocation in the event of limitations, including Ostend airport. “Several airports could benefit from it. Several companies, in complete transparency, informed us that they were courted by other airports, and not only in Belgium. To limit noise, for example, we must prevent the noisiest planes from passing through this airport.”
Without jargon, he admits that the government is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. “Let’s be transparent, we are in a very tense moment on this subject. We still give ourselves the day today to find solutions. I hope that we will find the right balance between ecology, employment and the economy”he concluded.
Liège Airport: Flanders in ambush? Ostend airport denies any attempt to poach