Groningen Airport Eelde sees potential for the future by including more freight flights, military air traffic, and businesses around the airport.
Translation by Thomas Ansell
“This will be a decisive year for Eelde”, Leendert Klassen, a member of the airport’s Supervisory Board, told Dagblad van het Noorden. Klassen and co-commissioner Wilma Mansveld, have set their hopes within the collective vision of the future of Dutch airports (Schiphol, Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Maastricht, and Eelde) set out earlier this year.
The collective vision of the Dutch airports, including a new aviation memorandum, has been sent to Dutch Infrastructure Minister Cora van Niewenhuizen. The memorandum should set out the amount of flights that are permissible for each airport. The board and staff of GAE hope to profit from the lack of capacity and overcrowding at Schiphol, Eindhoven, and Rotterdam, all of which are perilously close to the legal limit for numbers of flights allowed.
The planned airfield at Lelystad will take over a number of holiday flights from Schiphol, but it remains unclear when the new airfield will actually open or if its capacity will be enough to make up the shortfall in space across the country. Mansveld cited Eelde’s excellent runway and significant extra capacity as attractive features for future business.
Mansveld and Klaassen met with Schiphol supremo Dick Benschop in March to discuss a potential collaboration with Schiphol Group, which includes the Amsterdam airport and Rotterdam and Eindhoven airports. The March meeting was the first time that both Eelde and Maastricht airports joined in a conversation with Schiphol Group.
However, the Eelde Advisory Board thinks that the airport must look further than just accommodating the over-spill of holiday flights from Schiphol. Mansveld told the Dagblad, ”Maastricht has a large amount of cargo flights, so why not Eelde? Wehkamp, for example, has a huge shop in Zwolle. Why can’t the cargo come via Eelde in the future?”
Another possibility is more military air traffic: Eindhoven is presently the base of the Dutch Army’s Hercules and KDC-10 transport fleet, but moving these activities to Eelde would open up room for more public flights from Eindhoven. That option is in keeping with current considerations to designate airspace above the northern Netherlands as a training zone for the Dutch air force. Mansveld added that the facilities around the airport are also interesting real estate for more businesses to be based on site.