The peculiar parking situation at Groningen Airport Eelde

Since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, many flights have been put on hold. This had a tremendous effect on Groningen Airport Eelde, an airport that was already up to discussion whether it should continue providing flights in the future.

Many northerners regarded the airport as a luxury to have around. But others prefer to use Schiphol (Amsterdam) airport, because of the bigger size and the extra flight options. As the planes of KLM are not being used at the moment, they need to be parked somewhere. These planes are being parked on all airports in The Netherlands, but especially at Groningen Airport Eelde. This has to do with less people using the airport.

The parked planes as seen from the road, Photo: Robert Lee Smid

Parking the planes at Groningen airport is a ‘necessary precaution’ according to Fred Tegelaar, an (airplane) insurance broker. He believes that as soon as the Coronavirus pandemic is a thing of the past, the airplanes will fly again from the Northern airport. When asked about whether Groningen Airport has a future if the pandemic rages on until September he replied: ‘’The same future as any other airport at the moment, it also goes for Schiphol, Eindhoven and for Maastricht airport.’’ He does not think that it would close any time soon, because faster transport to Amsterdam would be more costly. ‘’The structure of transport is already here, to change that would cost quite a bit of money.’’

This indicates that Groningen Airport Eelde is still considered as an important regional airport. But is this also the case with the people who are living around this airport? Some people actually prefer Schiphol over Groningen Airport. So too does Hilde Zuurd, a resident from the neighboring town Vries who came to view the parked planes. ‘’I like it, I like Schiphol,’’ says Zuurd. She is unsure about the future of Groningen Airport Eelde, but still believes it is a popular airport for many people.

‘’It would take me two and a half hours to get to Amsterdam,’’ says Jannes Bathoorn who lives in the nearby town of Roden. He hopes that the airport will remain open, as the additional travel time to the Dutch capital would not work for him at all. He too came to the airport today to view and take photos of the parked airplanes.

Whatever the future has in stall for Groningen Airport Eelde, it is clear that it is still providing people with entertainment. Even in a time that no planes are leaving the track at all.

Video: Robert Lee Smid

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