Saturday 19 September 2020

Lelystad airport expansion has cost €214m so far, and no commercial flight has landed

Work on building the new air traffic control tower. Photo: Depositphotos.com

No commercial aircraft have yet landed there, but the expansion of Lelystad airport has already cost €214m, according to research by local broadcaster Omroep Flevoland and investigative website Follow the Money.

The figure includes the cost of the construction projects and infrastructure needed to turn the minor airfield into one capable of dealing charter traffic, as well as the cost of research and civil service support.

A large part of the money – €90.7m – has come from the Schiphol airport group, which owns Lelystad and has invested in a new terminal and extending the runways.

Nearly €33m has come from national government, including some €7m which has been spent on feasibility and environmental impact reports, and €9m on support staff.

The Dutch air traffic control service has also put €26.4m into navigation systems and incorporating the airport into national airspace plans.

The airport even has a team of air traffic controllers who have been working at the airport since November last year, even though there are not yet any commercial flights. It also has a team of firemen on hand.

Opening

Infrastructure minister Cora van Niewenhuizen told MPs earlier this month that she has no plans to delay the opening of Lelystad to commercial traffic at the end of next year, despite the impact of coronavirus on the aviation industry.

The government had hoped to open Lelystad to holiday traffic in 2020 and so allow Schiphol to focus on more lucrative intercontinental flights.

The expansion plans have also led to major protests by people who will be affected by low-flying planes. In addition, last year it emerged that the noise calculations for local residents were wrong and that people will suffer far more aircraft nuisance than expected.

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