Six 747s flew into a Dutch airport — but then couldn’t leave


(CNN) — Six Lufthansa Boeing 747-400s landed at Twente Airport, a small Dutch air hub within the northeast of the nation, again in the summertime — but then have been stranded for months.

The plane have been taken out of service because of the German airline’s lowered flight schedule within the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and arrived at Twente over the course of June and July.

As quickly because the planes landed on the airport’s tarmac, they have been rumored to be heading for demolition.

Sure sufficient, 5 of the six plane have been later bought to plane recycling agency GE Aviation Materials, primarily based at Mojave Airport in California.

But there was a catch — the Netherland’s Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) forbade the planes from leaving Twente.

So commenced a advanced negotiation course of, with the stalemate ultimately resolved final Thursday.

Grounded airplanes

Lufthansa Twente Airport (2)

Pictured right here: the sixth Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 arriving at Twente Airport again in July.

VINCENT JANNINK/ANP/AFP through Getty Images

Prior to this decision, the ILT informed CNN Travel that the planes couldn’t depart as a result of Twente Airport did not have the precise security certificates.

At Twente, bigger jets — like Boeing 747s — are at the moment permitted to land for functions of demolition, but cannot take off.

Tiny Twente Airport is residence to only one runway. Previously used for each civil and navy aviation, the airport has been for business use solely since 2007, additionally describing itself on-line as “the ideal location for business aviation.”

There’s additionally an on-site dismantling agency — Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions (AELS), which has scrapped jets beforehand owned by airways together with KLM and Lufthansa.

“The airport’s infrastructure is momentarily not suitable for the takeoff of larger and heavier aircrafts,” an ILT spokesperson informed CNN Travel final Wednesday. “Nor has the aerodrome operator requested for permission to deviate from the international safety rules. This can pose security risks.”

Lufthansa informed CNN Travel that when the airline landed the six Boeing 747s again in the summertime, bigger jets have been permitted to take off for non-commercial and storage causes.

The dispute was set to be resolved in court docket with a lawsuit between ILT and Technology Base, the airport hub, but a compromise was reached: The ILT granted “a one-off exception” permitting the airplanes to leave. The ILT mentioned there have been are some security necessities that have to be met — specifically that the 747s carry “little fuel” and that the “aircraft must be light.”

“Both parties agree that the current state of affairs cannot be repeated,” ILT mentioned in a assertion final Thursday. “Lufthansa aircraft can thus depart from Twente Airport. The first aircraft will leave shortly.”

“We welcome this agreement,” a Lufthansa spokesperson informed CNN Travel on Thursday.

Many airways have been already planning to retire the Boeing 747, dubbed “the Queen of the Skies,” from their fleets, earlier than the coronavirus pandemic additional accelerated this exit.

British Airways, for instance, retired its ultimate Boeing 747 airplane in October 2020, months forward of schedule.

A preferred airplane with pilots and passengers alike, the 747 is broadly being changed with newer and extra environment friendly jets.



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