Freight flights from Maastricht, Netherlands, to Liège, Belgium, some 38 kilometers away, have sparked protests from environmentalists. "This is a madness," said Patrick Dessart of the Belgian group Demain on Monday the German Press Agency (DPA). With only nine minutes this might be the shortest flight connection in the world. But would be needed for 1.5 tons of kerosene. Such short flights should be banned, demanded Dessart. According to the environmental group, Qatar Airways had flew several times from Maastricht to Liège since the summer – as a leg on a connection from Doha to Mexico City. On Sunday evening, according to Dessart's words, another flight took place. In contrast, Demain organized a protest at the airport.
Cargo flights with a very short connection are not an isolated case
A Qatar Airlines spokesman told the DPA: "Flights to the overpass, such as the one between Maastricht and Liège, are unusual but sometimes necessary in operation, allowing airlines to fully load their machines, which in turn ensures optimal and efficient use of fuel. In this case, the aircraft was taken to a nearby airport, which has a runway of sufficient length for a fully loaded aircraft. " According to Demain, the ultrashort connection is by no means an isolated case: there are also cargo flights from Liège to Cologne (about 120 kilometers) and to Geilenkirchen (around 56 kilometers), the group criticizes.
Liège Airport was initially not available for comment on Monday. The environmental activists had dumped the previous evening about 150 kilograms of garbage in front of the airport of Liège – a tenth of the amount of fuel used, as Dessart said. The waste was taken back after the symbolic action, the activist emphasized.