Twente Airport seeks to prevent unnecessary relocation of jumbo Lufthansa and starts summary proceedings

The board of Twente Airport is instituting summary proceedings against the Inspectorate for the Environment and Transport (ILT) to prevent an unnecessary and costly relocation to another airport of empty aircraft parked at Twente. The ILT has granted Twente Airport a temporary exemption for the departure of Lufthansa's six parked jumbos. This temporary dispensation expires on June 30 next and ILT requires that the three currently still parked Lufthansa Boeing 747s leave before that date. However, the parking contract runs until the end of June 2022. Lufthansa does not need the three aircraft by Covid and would have to park the three Jumbos at another airport due to the ILT's requirement. This premature relocation is unnecessary, does not contribute to flight safety and entails unnecessarily high costs for Twente Airport because it would be a breach of contract, Twente Airport argues.

Safety not in question

Twente Airport has asked the inspectorate several times to postpone the June 30 date until the end of the parking contract (June 2022), because the three aircraft will be able to depart as safely a year from now as they did this year. However, the aviation inspectorate refers to the agreements made at the end of October 2020 when the first Lufthansa aircraft departed and wants to maintain those agreements anyway. Lufthansa announced at the end of October 2020 that it would make an effort to move the aircraft earlier and emphasized at the time that it would "not succeed until the end of June 2021." The aviation authority then unilaterally set this as the final date.

High costs

Lufthansa is forced to put the aircraft back into long-term storage because it wants to wait and see if and how quickly aviation recovers from the Covid crisis and whether it can reuse the aircraft or still have to (have them) dismantled. If Lufthansa has to park the planes elsewhere, it will have to unpack the packed planes, make them flight-ready and have them leave for another airport to be repacked for long-term storage (deep storage).

Lufthansa is footing the bill for the relocation and associated packing and unpacking costs at Twente Airport, alleging breach of contract. Including the lost parking revenue until the end of June 2022, the damage for Twente Airport could amount to over €800,000. Lufthansa has already started work on the first aircraft and in a month they will start on the second. Hence the urgency of summary proceedings.  The sooner a ruling is made, the more unnecessary damage can be prevented.

Unnecessary damage

The board of Technology Base, of which Twente Airport is part, considers such an expense at the expense of community funds to be disproportionate. Only a court ruling at very short notice can prevent this.

Chairman of the general board of Technology Base, Jeroen Diepemaat: "As a public organization, I regret having to take another government organization to court. But all things considered, we see no other solution to prevent major and unnecessary social damage. Nobody in Twente benefits from this damage. This damage is easily preventable if ILT is willing to leave the aircraft in place until the end of the contract."

Investing in the future of Twente Airport

Twente Airport wants to meet the requirements for the landing and departure of large aircraft and therefore wants to reinforce the verges along the runway. The best way to do this is currently being investigated, but this will take time and will certainly not be completed before the end of June.

Jan Schuring, Director Technology Base: "Twente Airport would rather invest in a safe infrastructure and in the future of the airport, than in unnecessary relocation costs of empty aircraft. The public costs of this are irresponsibly high. It is regrettable, but perfectly defensible that we ask the court for an independent weighing up of interests."

When the summary proceedings will take place is not yet known.

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