Pressure mounts to delay Lelystad Airport opening; 25k flights per year planned

The political opposition grows against the plan to set the opening of the Lelystad airport around April 2019. The ruling parties are under the pressure of their local politicians, who consider April 2019 to be way too soon. 

Members of the Dutch Parliament of the coalition-parties VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie will discuss on the matter next week. According to newspaper Trouw, last week they met with fellow party members from the interested region. The ChristenUnie already came to the conclusion that next year's April is not an option for the opening.

On Wednesday the council of Zwolle spoke against the fast opening of the airport, because the city fears the low air traffic. The provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland also agree that there should not be any discussion about extra-flights in Lelystad until a new arrangement in the airspace is made. This arrangement is expected to take place in 2023.     

The local CDA-party members are strongly opposing the decision as well. Harold Zoet, the leader of the fraction in the provincial cities of Gelderland: "nowhere airplanes fly so low for such a long distance". According to him this will cause nuisance and danger; "The protest is growing. I can hear it everywhere, from Apeldoor till Tiel".  

For the government the opening of the Lelystad airport is becoming a crucial matter. Schipol airport is basically overbooked.  The amount of movements is very close to the maximum limit of 500 thousand flights allowed until 2020. The demand for take off and landing slots is outpacing supply, which Schiphol wants to manage by transferring flights to the proposed Lelystad Airport. The airport location is 50 kilometers east of Amsterdam Oost and could maintain up to 25 thousand flights annually.