People about Airport Twente

Chamber of Commerce chairman Louis Koopman:

“The race is still on!”

Louis Koopman, regional Chamber of Commerce chairman, though pleased with the report presented by the Vliegwiel Twente Maatschappij, warns against euphoria. “We still have a long way to go, so much can still go wrong. We still have a few administrative and political hurdles ahead and the tendering process still needs to prove successful. Twente was also placed in the second plan in the Aviation Policy Memorandum. Lelystad is seen as Schiphol’s number one overflow airport, which is also owner of this site.” On the other hand, we recently received praise from Jeroen Fukke, director of Aiports at the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, for the way the region handled the issues.

The plan, according to him, is an excellent starting point for healthier regional development and offers immense opportunities for Twente’s trade and industry. “As Chamber of Commerce, we have always maintained that Twente will never really get off the ground without an airport. Now that we have this opportunity we will have to seize it with both hands. Leisurely approaching the finish line with our hands in the air is not an option; we must give it our all, and continue and strengthen our lobby efforts wherever possible.

Of course Louis Koopman laments the fact that Wilma Van Ingen would not be there to experience this important step as Chamber of Commerce director. “Her successor, Medy van der Laan, seems to share Wilma’s drive and she has the ideal network in The Hague, which she will have to tap into extensively.”

Besides the much praised textbook procedure, the results are also of high quality. “Ours will be the most eco-friendly airport in the Netherlands and there will be room enough for further improvement of the ecological value of part of the site. Moreover, the new Twente airport will focus on more than just flying, as the onsite activities could also create a lot of new jobs. The aviation and aviation-related sectors are currently in a slump, but the site will attract a lot of new business once the economy starts recovering. And that will also generate a lot of indirect jobs.”

The chosen procedure seems to have caused attitudes in Twente to change completely. The questionnaire in TC Tubantia and the talks in Café Berlijn have shown that some 70% are in favour of plan B (the compact airport). “I suspect that the ‘green character’ is what persuaded many of the objectors to change their minds. Perhaps they also paid a visit to Soesterberg, where the local economy had collapsed after closure of the airbase.”

Source: VIT Newsletter July 2009

Text: Niko Wind

Vliegwiel Twente Maatschappij