NOS News Publication. August 29, 2023, 09:41
Lelystad Airport believes it can open without using the controversial flight route over Overijssel. By selecting alternative routes, large aircraft won’t need to use a low flight path near Lemelerveld. The airport’s management stated this in a letter to the outgoing Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Harbers.
The management provides further details on the progress made regarding the two conditions set by the government for opening Lelystad Airport to major traffic. The government insists on finding a solution for the flight route over Overijssel. In this route, air traffic descends towards Lelystad over Lemelerveld, reaching Zwolle, and then further descending towards Flevoland. For the province of Overijssel, this so-called low flight route is unacceptable, as it is feared to cause noise pollution in the tranquil Vechtdal area. Flying higher over Lemelerveld is not an option since planes would then enter Schiphol’s flight path.
Lelystad Airport now proposes not using the approach route over Overijssel at all for the time being. Air traffic would have to come to the airport from other directions. The specific alternative routes are not mentioned in the letter by director Jan Eerkens. However, he writes that these alternatives are currently being examined in a new version of the environmental impact assessment.
10,000 Flight Movements
This assessment plays a crucial role in the application for the nature permit, which is the second requirement set by the government. Eerkens writes that the final version of this application is expected by the end of December. Due to the purchase of farms in Gelderland, the airport should have sufficient nitrogen capacity to perform 10,000 flight movements annually. Eerkens seeks permission for this number, as reported by Omroep Flevoland.
A new decision will have to be made in the further future regarding the planned growth to 45,000 flight movements.
Outgoing Minister Harbers informs the Dutch Parliament that he will only make a decision about Lelystad Airport’s proposals once the Parliament has determined whether the expansion of the airport is controversial or not. If it is deemed controversial, the new Parliament and a new government will have to decide on this after the elections.
The debate over whether Lelystad Airport should open has been ongoing for years. The initial idea was to develop the small regional airport into one that could handle tens of thousands of flights from Schiphol. According to the original plans, the airport was supposed to open in 2018, but this was repeatedly postponed. Residents and environmental organizations filed objections and tried to obstruct the expansion and opening with legal procedures. They are concerned about noise pollution for residents and damage to the environment.
Later, the issue of nitrogen emerged. In March of last year, Minister Van der Wal for Nature and Nitrogen decided not to grant a nature permit to the airport for the time being because the calculations regarding nitrogen emissions were incorrect.