During the past years the airport sector in Belgium and within a radius of 200 to 300 km around Brussels has been developing in two ways.
On the one hand, the surrounding big European airports (London-Heathrow, Paris- Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt and Amsterdam-Schiphol) have strengthened their position in a remarkable way due to the concentration phenomenon in aviation. On world level, this has created very important airlines, like British Airways, Lufthansa or Air France/KLM. These companies have developed a strategy of hubs from big airports, thus creating a transit traffic that is becoming increasingly important.
On the other hand, the regional airports, originally intended for charter flights, had a sometimes spectacular development. This is the case for Düsselforf and Eindhoven, but especially for Charleroi. These airports mainly focus on the segment of low cost flights.
In the recent decades, the sector has been profoundly transformed. The former state monopolies with their luxurious and exclusive character have gone, as well because of the pressure of tourists that want to fly cheaply, as because of the business travellers that no longer want to or can spend those huge sums of money they used to.
So prices are under pressure, and the classic airlines suffer of a chronic lack of profitability. Consequently, they are always looking to save money and continuously pushing for as low airport charges as possible (passenger charge and landing and take-off charge). But the airports too want to make a profit, so they will try to keep rates as high as possible. It goes without saying that the area of tension is clearly present.
The advent of low cost airlines, their enormous success (Ryanair) or swift disappearance reveal the instability of the sector. More and more the low cost airlines also ask for cheaper airport services to their extent that the classic airports do not always provide. This also generates tensions on the market.