Cabinet adopts draft Maastricht Airport Decree

Maastricht Aachen Airport will be free to use the full length of its runway in order to enable larger and heavier aircraft to take off and land. The Council of Ministers has approved the proposal to this end tabled by Minister Dijksma of Infrastructure and the Environment. In the long run, this will put the airport back on its feet, allowing it to make a positive contribution to (regional) employment opportunities, accessibility, the business climate, and tourism. The environmental impact and noise levels will remain within the limits of the current permits for use.

This expanded use of the runway will substantially restrict the scope for growth in flight numbers vis-à-vis the current permit (25,500 rather than 51,000 potential flights); as a result, the maximum nuisance that residents might experience under the current permit will not increase.

In 2014, the province of Limburg prevented Maastricht Airport from going bankrupt by taking over the airport shares. A new plan for the future was drawn up, aiming for the annual transport of 700,000 passengers and 250,000 tonnes of air freight by 2024. This will result in some 25,500 flight movements, of which approx. 9,500 light air traffic movements (such as business flights, training flights, and recreational traffic), and approx. 16,000 flight movements involving heavy, commercial traffic.

In order to realise such growth, the province of Limburg and the airport consider it important for larger freight aircraft to be able to utilise the full available runway length of 2,750 metres for take-off. Larger and heavier aircraft need this full runway length. Under the current permit, runway use is limited to a maximum of 2,500 metres. This decree will not affect the use of the runway by other traffic, or the airport opening hours.

The draft Airport Decree will be deposited for inspection in a so-called review procedure, giving stakeholders the opportunity to present their views regarding the draft Airport Decree. To this end, the draft decree has been submitted to the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment will set down a final Airport Decree on the basis of the views, the parliamentary reading, and the recommendations of the Council of State.