Government presses ahead with Lelystad airport plan despite protests

Lelystad airport at present. Photo: Supercarwaar via Wikimedia Commons

The government is pressing ahead with its plans to open Lelystad airport to commercial traffic from April 2019 despite problems with the noise calculations and protests from locals and airlines.

‘I will continue to do all I can to ensure this,’ transport minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen told MPs in a debate on Tuesday evening. ‘That is the commission parliament gave me and I am going for it 100%.’

Lelystad is being expanded to reduce the pressure at Schiphol airport which will focus on intercontinental flights and transit passengers. But the expansion plans have led to major protests by people who will be affected by low-flying planes.

In addition, earlier this year it emerged that the noise calculations for local residents were wrong and that people will suffer far more aircraft nuisance than expected.

‘I am very sorry that mistakes have been made,’ Van Nieuwenhuizen told MPs. ‘Lots has gone wrong in the communication and people feel they are not being listened to. That has created worries and unease.’

New calculations are now being made and will be property communicated, she said.


Budget and charter airlines are also furious about the decision to force them to move flights to 89 destinations, mainly in southern Europe, to Lelystad airport when it opens to charter flights.

The Schiphol ban would apply to destinations which are not capital cities and which lie between 700 and 4,000 kilometres from Schiphol. It includes all Greek, Portuguese and Croatian destinations apart from Athens, Lisbon and Zagreb as well as many cities in Turkey, Spain and Morocco.

The government argues that keeping Schiphol’s international network is crucial and that by moving holiday traffic, it will be able to grow within current noise restrictions.

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