International legislation dictates that an airport needs these turning paths and solid berms for the largest aircraft (size category D, E and F). However, the legislation also allows an airport to apply for an exemption for (parts of) the infrastructure, provided that safety is not compromised and there is a special circumstance.
In principle, turning lanes are necessary for efficient handling at an airport. The function of a turn lane is to allow a large aircraft to make a 180-degree turn on its own power, so that the runway is quickly free again for the next aircraft. However, large aircraft land at Twente Airport only incidentally, so a turnpath is not necessary for efficiency and safety. The large aircraft do not make a turn at Twente Airport, but are pushed back to the apron with a tow truck after landing. This is fast and safe. Turnpads therefore have no added value for flight safety at Twente Airport.
In recent months, Twente Airport has also investigated the solidity of the roadsides next to the runway. A specialized agency has carried out random measurements which show that the verges are sturdy enough and meet the international requirements for large aircraft. This report was sent with the application for the exemption to the ILT.
Waiver needed to realize ambitions
The exemption is requested in order to be able to structurally receive and depart larger aircraft at Twente Airport. In the ambitions to perform limited aircraft maintenance and meet parking demand, Twente Airport must be able to serve this market in order to generate revenue.
ILT generally uses a period of eight weeks to process a request such as this. If there are further questions or missing data, the processing and decision period may take longer.
In June 2020, a discussion arose with ILT about the need for these turning lanes, following the arrival of six decommissioned Lufthansa B747-400s at Twente Airport for storage. Because there are no turning paths at Twente Airport and the verges (shoulders) along the runway would not be sturdy enough, the aircraft were not allowed to leave. This dispute was resolved specifically for Lufthansa's six aircraft. In April, the court ruled that the last aircraft could remain until the end of the agreed parking contract (June 2022).