Province of Flemish-Brabant

Tom Dehaene, Vice-Governor

Brussels Airport is a vital economic hub for Flanders and even more for the province of Flemish Brabant. It also has a major impact on mobility and environmental quality in the region. A lot of challenges come together at Brussels Airport, and the Stargate project presents a unique opportunity for the province to intensify its work with key stakeholders to guarantee a sustainable future for the airport and its surroundings.

The province plays a modest but important role in Stargate. On the one hand, we try to align Stargate with regional spatial planning and climate policy. On the other hand, we connect project partners with municipalities, other regional stakeholders and the Flemish government.

During the first year of the project, our spatial planning experts have set up a district heating audit of the airport area that will be implemented in 2023. The mobility department has been preparing the installation of bicycle counting devices to provide traffic data for the project and will soon hire a cycling policy manager for the airport, to help achieve the modal shift. The province invests strongly in cycle paths and cycle highways allowing commuters to bike to work; we believe the Brussels Airport region has a high potential for commuting by bike. We also want to involve neighbours and surrounding municipalities in Stargate. This is why we helped the University of Hasselt with their survey on the collection of used vegetable oil as a source of SAF in Flemish Brabant.

The aviation sector still has a long way to go to become future proof. Stargate will need intense communication to make people aware of the progress that is being made and of the role that all stakeholders need to play in the years to come.

Let’s hope that Stargate will make Brussels Airport known as the green gateway to Europe, the place where the transition towards sustainable aviation is in full swing and where world class innovators are meeting to design ever better solutions.

As the engine for regional development, the province intends to help project partners to capitalize on the results of the project and to further invest in innovation, digitisation, and green transition.