The city has owned its shares since 2004
Translated by Thomas Ansell
Groningen Aiport Eelde seems to be in and out of the headlines incredibly quickly at the moment. As quickly as bleak financial warnings come to light, so too the airport announces a new route. The turbulence has evidently worried some shareholders at the airport, with the City of Assen looking to put its shares in Groningen Aiport Eelde up for sale on December 10. As reported by the RTV Drenthe.
December 10 is the next shareholders meeting, and that, according to the city’s decision makers, is the right time to offer Assen’s 10 percent of the airport to other shareholders. The Provinces of Groningen and Drenthe own 30 percent each, the Gemeente Tynaarlo owns four percent, and the Stichting FB Oranjewoud owns 26 percent.
The December 10 meeting will also be the point at which the future of the airport is seriously considered, says Assen: “we have decided to offer our shares to other shareholders immediately after the meeting”.
Assen had wished to put it’s shares up for sale earlier, in June, but were asked to hold on longer so that the city could take part in discussion about the future of the airport. Interim-Director of Groningen Airport Eelde, Bart Schmeink, says that the airport is constantly working on new plans that could give an insight into the future of the airport. Due to the lapsing of direct routes, and large amounts of holiday charter routes also no longer flying from the airport, an earlier investment plan (from 2016) that would see 46 million euros put into the airport has had to be shelved.
The executive team at the airport is now putting together a number of scenarios, one of which is closing the North’s only airport. These will be presented to a number of stakeholders on September 22, and will demonstrate what is both practicable and affordable.
The various local government regions became unwitting investors in the airport in 2004, when the Dutch government financed the lengthening of the runway at Eelde. This came with a ten-year guarantee that the various local authorities would finance Eelde. In 2016, Assen decided that it wanted to sell its shares, but couldn’t find a local buyer. The city of Groningen held shares too, but sold them (for a symbolic 1 euro) to the Frisian investment society Stichting FB Oranjewoud.