A runway on which you can land with a Boeing 747 but not take off. It sounds unlikely, but at Twente Airport it is a reality. Six jumbo jets from Lufthansa have been parked for a few months, because of a problem with the safety certificate. In the meantime, a solution has been found: the airport is granted a one-off exemption so that the aircraft can still leave.
The airport must comply with some specifications in the safety protocols applicable to heavy aircraft such as the 747. For example, the aircraft must be as light as possible on departure and therefore carry little fuel. The agreement has just in time prevented an interim action which would serve this afternoon,
The plane soap started this spring. Airport Twente, specialized in dismantling old aircraft, thought to have a nice deal in June. Lufthansa asked the airport to temporarily store six 747‘s. The German company had to significantly reduce the fleet as a result of the coronacrisis. Under the eye of enthusiastically photographing aircraft spotters – such large planes do not land often – the noisy jets came down on the runway in June and July. Twente Airport thought to do good business while the aircraft industry had been hit hard.
A traffic controller said at the end of July that she had been told that it was a bit busier at Twente Airport than at Schiphol:
Twente Airport expected that the 747′s would stay there for a long time, maybe more than a year, and hoped to dismantle them as well. But Lufthansa, still the owner, had other plans. The company sold at least three of the aircraft to the US aircraft recycler GE Aviation Materials. The first jumbo jet should have left for the US on Monday, reports the German aircraft site Aerotelegraph.
But the aircraft were not allowed to leave. According to the ILT, Twente Airport only has a permit to land Boeing 747‘s to have them dismantled on site. According to the ILT, the runway does not have the infrastructure to take off very heavy aircraft like the 747. In order to ensure that the aircraft would remain on the ground, the inspection imposed a penalty payment on the airport of Twente.
According to the inspection, the first two Lufthansa aircraft did not apply for a licence – it was later fixed because it was only paperwork. And even before the landing of the last four jets, it was warned that there could be no departure, says the ILT in Trouw.
Twente Airport was holding hands in the hair. “As if you were driving into a parking garage and then no longer allowed to go outside,” said director Meiltje de Groot to Tubantia on Tuesday. “Too absurd for words.”
The ‘airplane‘ soap ‘kept the minds in Overijssel in the meantime, reports RTV Oost. Members of the Enschede State Arjan Hof (ChristenUnie) and Frederik Tattersall (FVD) have put questions in writing to the College of Government States.
Now that there is an agreement between the parties, the first aircraft will be able to take off in the short term. Two others will leave before the New Year. The last three will be away from Twente Airport by the end of June 2021.