The local government shareholders at Groningen Airport Eelde have granted the directors additional time to cover the deficit posed by Nordica’s departure.
Translation by Traci White
The Groninger Internet Courant reports that the shareholders decided to grant the airport direction more time during an urgent meeting on Thursday. The airport is facing a deficit in its 2019 budget due to Estonian airline Nordica ending its Munich and Copenhagen service at the end of December.
In the interest of increasing the regional airport’s connections to the rest of the world, GAE had been prioritising service to large European hubs in recent years. The lines to Copenhagen and Munich were subsidised by a route fund which compensated Nordica for unoccupied seats on their flights, but the airline was still selling fewer tickets for the flights than expected. The London Southend line, which is operated by Stobart, is also subsidised by the route fund.
The airport had been planning upgrades in anticipation of increasing passenger numbers, namely a new fire station and expanding the terminal. But in light of the Nordica lines ending, the stakeholders – the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe and the municipalities of Groningen, Assen and Tynaarlo – want to hold off on investing in the terminal. CDA provincial representative Patrick Brouns says, “The investment resources cannot be used to cover budget deficits.”
Airport director Marco van de Kreeke says the number of passengers on the two soon-to-end lines had risen in recent months. “That shows that there is a market for these hub services”, he says. The airport directors are reportedly in talks with two other airlines about resuming flights to Copenhagen and Munich The stakeholders will meet again in two weeks to evaluate the revised budget.