As one of the most important European cities, Brussels Airport plays an important role in its country’s economic stability. The airport has released its strategic plans that will encompass all major aspects of the airport until 2040. During the upcoming 24 years, the airport wants to focus ambitiously on growth and expanding within the aviation sector. While the airport has the potential to double the number of available jobs to 120,000 in 2040, it wants to do so while maintaining integrity and transparency. With that in mind, Brussels Airport announced the creation of Forum 2040, a platform for dialogue on this development with a place for all involved parties to openly express their thoughts.
In a statement, the airport expressed their ambitions with Forum 2040 saying, “Several international airports, in neighboring countries as well, have already announced big strategic investments as an answer to the growing demand of the market. Our country can not stay behind and has to take this chance on economic, social and cultural aspects that aviation is offering us.”
Throughout the next two decades, the airport expects an increase of passenger numbers by 3,8% and cargo transport numbers by 4,7% annually. According to the plan, the direct and indirect employment numbers can rise from 60,000 today, to 75,000 in 2020. One of the goals of Brussels Airport is to create a prestigious and modern business park, Deloitte, KPMG, and Microsoft have already chosen to participate in this. Trends show that more companies chose to settle at or near airports because of easy mobility.
Other than increasing the number of jobs available, the strategic vision has three main focal points. First, runway infrastructure needs to be improved to enhance airport capacity. This gives the airport two options, increasing the length of the 05/27 runway, or extend the available taxiways. Secondly, the vision promotes the construction of two extra piers. A western pier will be added in 2023, and a third one will be added around 2030. Lastly, the cargo zone needs to be modernized and refurbished to certain standards in order to support key sectors in the economy.
The Strategic Vision 2040 focuses on a balanced approach by connecting with the direct and indirect environment around the airport. Residents, local government, companies, and experts are all welcome to sign up for the forum. An independent panel will select 60 participants for the forum, based on residency or expertise to ensure all parties involved will get equal opportunity to speak and participate. In December, an independent chairman will be assigned and the first Forum 2040 meeting will start in Jan. 2017.
After the release of the strategic vision, the Belgian minister of environment has announced that the tolerance toward airlines exceeding the noise abatement procedures will no longer be accepted. The CEO of Brussels Airport, Arnaud Feist, thinks the development plans should be seen in a positive light and add to the development of the region. By increasing the fines on airlines, this could be a potential threat for the development of these plans.