Eelde director Meiltje de Groot told RTV Noord on Monday, May 30 that the Groningen Airport has sufficient capacity to take over up to twenty flights a day from Schiphol.
De Groot had already spoken to RTV Noord last week and had revealed that she was talking to Schiphol and several airlines about the possibility to divert some flights towards the north.
Northern passengers should hold their horses though. For now, there has been no concrete commitment made by the airlines, but de Groot is optimistic and thinks Eelde is perfectly capable of scaling up before the summer season if only given a bit of time to prepare.
De Groot is not only speaking as Eelde director but also as the chair of the Dutch Association of Airports (NVL). As such, she believes that Schiphol’s role should be re-considered in the long term and has been calling for more subsidies for smaller regional airports.
Schiphol has been experiencing extreme staff shortages for some time, which combined with large crowds longing for their first post-Covid vacation created a chaotic situation during the month of May. Frustrated passengers reported queues up to five hours long to get through security, and several flights were canceled.
Smaller airports like Eelde are less affected by personnel shortages and Schiphol is open to giving up on some flights to relieve the pressure. The problem is that most airlines want to keep their slot at Schiphol in the long term.
Only last week, Schiphol unveiled an action plan to prevent large crowds during the summer period. The plan features more staff, which still needs to be recruited, and other strategies to ensure that the number of flights – and passengers – going through the airport does not exceed capacity and existing staff’s availability.