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04 November 2009
EU Directive 2002/30/EC deals with noise pollution management at EU airports. It aims to:
The directive was implemented in Belgium by the Royal Decree of September 25 2003, with the Ministerial Decree of May 3 2004 introducing provisions specific to Brussels National Airport.
The ministerial decree was modified on July 27 2009. The new decree aims to introduce limits that are stricter than those in force since 2004.
The 2004 decree set noise limits on the basis of movement of aircraft (under Articles 4 and 5) and according to season (under Article 6) - these remain unchanged. The limits are expressed in quota counts (QC) per aircraft movement. The quota is calculated on the basis of the noise generated by an aircraft, which depends on the type of aircraft and whether it is taking off or landing. Thus, every aircraft type has two QCs: one for take-off (QCD) and one for landing (QCA). For example, a Boeing 747-400 has a QCD of between 18.5 and 27.1 and a QCA of between 4.3 and 10.2.
Until July 27 2009 only two periods of activity were used to determine the QC allowed at Brussels National Airport: day and night. The airport's limits were set at 12QC at night and 24QC in the morning. Thus, a Boeing 747-400 was not allowed to take off at night, but was allowed to land.
The new decree sets different limits for take-off and landing and creates four time slots for:
The take-off restrictions in Article 4 state that:
The landing restrictions in Article 5 state that:
The new decree entered into force on October 25 2009. Nevertheless, Articles 4 and 5 of the decree provide that aircraft which have been operating at the airport since 2008 are exempt from the new daytime and evening restrictions for five years. The aim of this transitional rule is to allow airlines to modify their fleets gradually. Thus, the only rule change to take effect in 2009 is the morning reduction from 24QC to 12QC from October 25 2009. In 2010 the new limit for night services will be reduced from 12QC to 8QC. The full system of limits will apply to most aircraft by October 25 2014.
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