The position as a Member of Parliament in the province is not as simple as I noted at the committee meeting where the theme of Maastricht Aachen Airport was on the agenda. It has now become so complicated, with many studies and reports completely contradicting each other, that it is difficult to use common sense.
The members of these states usually have another job, so you certainly can not portray them as pickpockets. And in this file alone, they have had to dig through thousands of pages of information. Just keep at it.
A lot of information is colored. One side has very rosy prospects, the other side draws the most bleak scenario. Reality is, as so often, somewhere in the middle. An example: publications from a number of opponents always have the Royal Horeca Nederland logo. So the trade association is against the airport, do you think? But no, the national director (living in Maastricht) told me that they are completely neutral about it. Their members from Maastricht (hotel owners, restaurateurs) are just for. It turns out that a local branch in a municipality in Heuvelland is against it. He also has that logo in the closet, which is handy.
There was room for ‘speakers’ at the meeting. They were allowed to put their arguments on the table for 3 minutes each. Members of parliament could then ask questions. Then you notice that incorrect communication occurs quickly. The TEFAF director, who had mainly come from Amsterdam to spend the 3 minutes, was asked how much the taxi costs from Bierset. No idea, the man said. No, the name Bierset means nothing to him at all. He just came from TEFAF New York.
The delegate in question wanted to demonstrate that these TEFAF private jets could just as easily fly to Liège because that was what he meant by Bierset, the airport’s original name. The TEFAF director did not even mention Liège. It is not an option for them for many practical reasons, but they are charming. They especially want to work with Limburg and certainly also with their own airport. But they do not necessarily have to hit the drums. If the politicians do not want to, they can easily move to other cities that have their own airport. The offers are ready. Although the board would still like to stay in Maastricht despite the closure of the MAA, traders and their main customers will not accept it. And the stock market ultimately belongs to the traders. I suspect that some of the Member States have never been to TEFAF Maastricht. No idea what a world it is and where the priorities lie and who decides them.
A lot of information is colored. One side has very rosy prospects, the other side draws the most bleak scenario. Reality is, as so often, somewhere in the middle ‘
I thought the point with hotel owner Benoit Wesly was real. That in a time of great geopolitical unrest, one must maintain one’s infrastructure, especially by air. This can be crucial in an emergency. That is why South Limburg Airport was once built, many have forgotten.
Clear communication is crucial in all themes, whether it is in politics, in business or in private life. But it is rarely objective. There are always personal interests. A newspaper reporter who attended the meeting told me that he could not be neutral on this matter. No, I could see that again this morning.
Who has what personal interests in this file? You could fill whole newspapers with that. For example, I heard that just before the provincial council’s final decision in early June, architect Francine Houben managed to arrange another agreement with the relevant provincial government together with an opponent of the MAA. Houben, who flies around the world a lot because of his successful career, wants to plow the ‘Beek’ and turn it into a nature reserve, plus housing and recreation. What other interests are at stake there? Is it just a concern for the environment?
The tourism sector in Sydlimburg is not, as suggested, a massive opponent of the airport, opinions are quite divided. Last week I spoke to a number of artisans in Noorbeek, who are visited by many tourists. “We are hardly bothered by the few planes taking off from Beek,” they said. “After a minute you can no longer hear them. But all the motorcycles that thunder past here all weekend with a huge noise, it is we and the tourists who stay here, much more bothered by. That noise lasts for hours. Let them start with that. “
Let us hope that the Member States will take it up as the next path. And to be able to complete the Maastricht Aachen Airport file with a realistic approach. An airport that matches the size of the region and is ready for an innovative future with increasingly quieter and cleaner aircraft. I have the idea that the vast majority of Limburgers would agree with that. With a little extra creativity, the members of the states should succeed, one would say.