What is the future of Groningen Airport Eelde?
Groningen Airport Eelde is the only airport in the Northern Netherlands for daily passenger- and business flights. However, the airport is struggling, because in recent years there has been little growth in the number of passengers. Substantial investments have also been made in the airport, including in a longer runway, the covering of all aprons and walkways, and, very recently, a giant solar array.
New destinations and connections with international “hubs” were also introduced, with very mixed success: last summer the number of passengers even fell, compared to the same period a year earlier.
As reported by RTV Noord on Thursday
In the third quarter of this year, more than 62,000 passengers visited Groningen Airport Eelde, over 21 percent less than in the same period last year (more than 78,500 passengers).
“Last season, the airline Nordica flew via Eelde twice a day to Copenhagen and once to Munich,” a spokesperson for the airport told RTV Noord. “That is no longer the case. And now another aircraft is going back and forth to Copenhagen, but that is a smaller aircraft, holding fewer people. ‘
According to him, that is the reason that fewer passengers visited Eelde in the summer of 2019 than a year earlier.
At the airport people start to worry about the future. This is also because the municipality of Groningen, one of the shareholders, has indicated that it wants to sell its shares in the airport.
Businessmen: ‘Airport must stay!’
Northern entrepreneurs are strongly in favor of maintaining the airport, because they believe that a large region simply cannot do without an airport for (business) flights. For example, when international artists, scientists or international politicians come to Groningen, it is difficult for them to travel by train or car from Schiphol to Groningen, they say.
One of the more successful flights for Eelde is to London Southend Airport, which means that the North is linked to an International hub with more than 50 destinations. This could provide an important signpost into the future of Airport Eelde, particularly with growing numbers of International students and workers in the North. At the moment, any student or worker who is not from the United Kingdom or Denmark must travel to Schiphol.
One thing is for sure: the discussion on the future of the Northern airport will continue through to 2020.