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TUI defends making flights from Antwerp to Brussels to refuel

22:04 16/01/2023

Five flights this summer by travel company TUI from Antwerp-Deurne airport to Spanish destinations made pit stops at Brussels Airport en route, resulting in significant amounts of extra C02 emissions, it has been revealed.

An additional take-off cycle with the aircraft used generates 2,050kg of CO2 emissions, according to Inge Mayeres of Transport & Mobility Leuven.

Direct flights between Antwerp and, for example, Alicante in Spain, total around 13,265kg of CO2.

But Mediahuis reported that stopovers in Brussels Airport were adding excess pollution.

TUI has explained the stopovers by saying that the planes had to refuel in Brussels to ensure they were a safe weight to take off from the shorter runway in Antwerp.

While the aircraft used (Embraer 190s or 195s) have enough fuel tank capacity to make direct flights to Spain, a TUI Belgium spokesman explained that the planes are not always fully fuelled on take-off in order to ensure the proper weight.

“If the runway in Antwerp is wet, we have to do some weight checks for safety,” the spokesman said.

“In general, the weight in Antwerp is correct and the runway can support it, but, for example, on a full flight with baggage, the take-off weight must be reduced. This cannot be done by turning away passengers. So we take on less fuel in Antwerp so that we can still take off safely and refuel in Brussels to get to Spain.

Such weight constraints do not apply at Brussels Airport because its runways are significantly longer than those of the smaller airport in Antwerp.

Such stopovers took place on five flights in total, to Alicante, Malaga and Ibiza.

TUI Group is the world's largest tourism group headquartered in Germany. Its Belgian subsidiary is headquartered at Brussels Airport.

Written by Helen Lyons