Sp.a and Groen want closing of Antwerp airport, Open Vld opposes
According to political parties sp.a and Groen, the city of Antwerp doesn’t need an airport for touristic flights, situated on a distance of hardly 40 km of the international airport of Zaventem, as was confirmed by Tom Meeuws, chairman of the Antwerp socialists.
Reduction of flights
Earlier this week, on Monday, airline company VLM Airlines announced a serious reduction of touristic flights, offering only flights to London and Zurich in the future. The company wants to focus on charter flights.
Meeuws would prefer a conversion of the airport site into a large city park, surrounded by living space, schools and leisure zones. He also thinks it would be better to have a closer collaboration with Brussels Airport and the Belgian railway company, NMBS/SNCB, by installing booking offices in the Antwerp Central station for Antwerp travellers embarking in Brussels.
Diamond and harbour activities
Flemish deputy, Ingrid Pira (Groen), demands the closing of the airport “as soon as possible”, and emphasizes that it has been supported “artificially” for years with subsidies of the Flemish government.
State Secretary, Philippe De Backer (Open Vld), however, opposes the ideas of the socialists and ecologists. He thinks Antwerp needs its proper airport, especially for business trips linked with the diamond and harbour activities. “We present ourselves as a metropole, so we need to have our own airport.”