Taken from the current Flight International issue (free article):
The second-last paragraph is the mot interesting one as it shines a light on how complex the situation has become for the Belgian government.
Federal and regional governments want carrier to replace MD-11s with quieter aircraft
Negotiations between the Belgian federal government and DHL over the expansion of the express package carrier's European hub at Brussels International airport were in deadlock last week, as DHL's board met to study alternatives.
Talks with the government broke down after it demanded a DHL pledge to replace Boeing MD-11 Freighters, which it operates on long-haul services, with quieter aircraft by 2010.
The carrier announced plans to expand its European operations last year - either at Brussels or a new hub - and asked the government to increase the airport's night movement cap from 25,000 to 34,000 a year, and sought 60Ha (150 acres) of land for expansion. Alternative airports being examined are Leipzig in Germany and Vatry in France.
After a lengthy silence, Belgium's federal government began negotiating with DHL last month, offering a night cap compromise of 28,000 movements. This set off a political fight between the federal government and the regional governments of Flanders and the Brussels capital areas, the latter opposing any increase beyond 25,000 and blocking the government decision.
The federal government was aiming to use a loophole to make up the 3,000-movement deficit to 28,000, but in the meantime it emerged that DHL is planning to increase the number of transatlantic flights to its hub that are operated by MD-11s, which have been declared too noisy for night operations by the regional Flemish and federal governments. The authorities have demanded that the carrier promise to replace the MD-11s with "quieter aircraft" by 2010.
Although the MD-11 complies with the previously enforced QC12 limit, the government has decided to lower noise levels to QC8 by 2010 - a standard that no current long-haul freighter can meet. It would require DHL to acquire a freighter version of a new-generation long-haul widebody such as the Boeing 777. This appears unlikely, with DHL saying its expansion plans have been drawn up around the MD-11.
The DHL board met on 1 October to discuss its hub expansion strategy, but was not expected to make a final decision that day.
HERMAN DE WULF / BRUSSELS