Brussels Airport staff parking and car rental will have new homes by the end of 2025, after the start of building work on a new multi-storey car park.
2,700 new spaces
Parking lot P30, a former open-air staff car park opposite the drop-off area at the airport, is being transformed into 2,700 parking spaces over eight floors intended for staff and car rental services. A covered walkway is also being added to allow convenient and sheltered access to and from the terminal building.
Brussels Airport is the second most important economic growth pole in Belgium, employing 24,000 staff direct and contributing indirectly to the existence of another 40,000 jobs. By providing 90,000 m² of new accommodation for staff cars and car rental services, the build will free up space for more public parking slots in existing buildings for air passengers coming in by car.
How is this green?
The new facility will offer 617 charging points for electric cars but is nonetheless likely to raise questions about the greenest ways to reach the airport and whether car arrivals should be encouraged at all.
In addition to concerns about the range of mobility options for reaching the airport, some will point out that the construction industry is responsible for 50% of all raw material mining and 30% of all waste. What’s more, concrete traditionally needs cement and cement has one of the world’s worst carbon footprints, generating up to 5% of man-made CO2 emissions worldwide.
It may be seen as encouraging then that, though the initial phase of the building works includes breaking up asphalt, concrete, foundations, drainage, cables, kerb stones, and lamp posts, those waste materials will be reused. The concrete will be broken down at the crushing plant in the cargo zone at the airport and used as a filling material at the construction site afterwards, cutting down on the need for construction lorries making long journeys to and from the airport.
Reducing truck journeys is an important factor since the airport is already “a leading cargo platform, specialised in the transport of pharmaceutical products, perishable goods, e-commerce and live animals”. Balancing this role with the airport’s supposed status as a project leader in Stargate, an EU Green Deal programme designed to decarbonise aviation, improve local environments and promote modal shifts is a tricky act to keep up.
Despite the efforts to ensure circularity and reduce emissions, traffic at the airport will inevitably be affected by the works. November 2023 will see the first example of this disruption, due to the existing sewer system being moved over a length of 30 metres. The sewer work means outbound traffic to the A201 will be restricted to two “narrowed lanes” for two weeks, according to an airport press release.