As of 1 April, airlines will be charged up to 20 times more for the most polluting aircraft they operate, most of which are older planes that emit more CO2 and are louder than more modern ones.
Noisier planes have already been paying up to three times more than their quieter counterparts since 2016, but these levies did not apply to smaller planes and private jets. Going forward planes will be categorised into eight bands, with the loudest liable to charges up to 20 times more than those applied to the most modern, least polluting aircraft. In addition, Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions will be included in the pollution calculation for the first time.
The fees, which are subject to Belgium’s 11% indexation for inflation, are fixed for a five-year period, so the new tariffs will apply until 31 March 2028. The airport wants to give airlines an even greater incentive to use more modern, quieter and less polluting aircraft, which has worked the last time similar measures were taken. Since the introduction of a larger environmental component in the charges in 2016, the proportion of flights operated by aircraft in the loudest categories at Brussels Airport has become three times less, reaching a record low share of 5% of the total amount of flights.
At the same time with the airport fees, the taxes that airlines have to pay to the Belgian air traffic body Skeyes are also changing on 1 April. The government-imposed terminal charge is calculated based on distance travelled, short-haul flights being taxed more, aircraft noise and emissions. Additionally, the time of landing and departure are taken into account, as the city council aims to ban night flights over Brussels.
“The terminal charge will become 25 percent cheaper to 40 percent more expensive, depending on the performance and time of day,” said Belgian mobility minister Georges Gilkinet. “For the oldest, most polluting and noisiest aircraft, the charge doubles depending on the time of day.”
While Brussels Airport is charging airlines more for noise pollution, its general noise levels were brought into question at a recent meeting of the neighbouring municipalities, which contest plans of expanding the airport due to the nuisance it causes to residents.