Italy's green parties are seeking a night-time flight ban at airports across the country, despite the fact that two previous attempts to impose ministerial decrees have been suspended or cancelled by the country's regional administrative tribunals.

This time the parties are attempting to bypass the tribunals. They want the government to pass a law protecting the environment, that will include a ban for all non-essential flights operating between 2300h and 0600h. The proposal is being discussed in the lower house, but has yet to win the approval of the Italian Senate.

The ban is strongly opposed by several companies that are threatening to either move outside Italy or severely reduce their activities and layoff staff. These include air courier companies, plus several charter airlines and tour operators, that use night-time slots.

Italian transportation under secretary Luca Danese has proposed that the ruling be amended to reduce the ban's duration by a hour (from 2400h to 0600h) and exempt Stage 3 aircraft. Danese anticipates a fight with his colleague in the government, the green party's Valerio Calzolaio who is also undersecretary at the environment ministry. Calzolaio fully supports the proposal as originally drafted.

• The Belgian ministry for the environment has issued Brussels Zaventem airport with the newly required environmental airport operator's certificate which limits the number of aircraft movements between 2300h and 0600h to 25,000 a year (an average of 68 per night). The move effectively blocks any expansion of night-time operations at the airport.

The permit also states that aircraft noise must not exceed 90db from 1st January 2002, while a study has been ordered by 2003 into the possibility of reducing aircraft noise even further to 80db to take effect when the current limit expires in 2005.

Source: Flight International