‘Aviation mafia in the Netherlands’

By: Bert Wagendorp 2 December 2017
(Wagendorp is a prominent news columnist in de Volkskrant, a leading Dutch newspaper, WL – translation Wouter Looman, UECNA; link to the Dutch article)

Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Van Nieuwenhuizen received a thick report yesterday from the ‘Residents Delegation connection routes Lelystad Airport‘. It stated that the expansion of Lelystad Airport should be postponed until Dutch airspace has been rearranged – we are now faced with an airspace shortage. In addition, the delegation concluded that because of all the tampering around the expansion, the public’s confidence in public authorities was violated.

Van Nieuwenhuizen cared in particular the last point, she was going to do something about it, communication will be improved. Talking about postponing the opening of the airport was non-negotiable. It seems as if ministers do not want to understand why the mistrust of citizens is growing.

Fooled, but in a decent way

For how long can a government actually cheat, harass, keep stringing, fool, deceive, schiphol (as a verb with negative connotation, WL) her citizens? No scientific research has been performed into this issue yet, but the central government on The Hagues’ Binnenhof is still optimistic for the time being. Put a joker like Hans Alders (former minister in the role of mediator between central and local government, aviation sector and citizens, WL) in and you can go on endlessly, for example in the ultimate case file, Schiphol. Recently, in this context, I received an e-mail from a former minister who, with approval, quoted his father: ‘The government is a villain with a top hat; you are fooled, but in a decent way.’

The plans around Lelystad Airport, owned by Schiphol, are a great illustration of this. Air traffic control in the Netherlands in 2009 already thought the expansion was a bad plan, but nevertheless it was simply continued, as far as possible out of the sight of the citizens. The Ministry of Infrastructure works closely together with the airport, the residents say in their report. Rutte III (the prime minister has his third cabinet, WL) is sometimes called ‘Shell 1’ (for helping Shell, WL), but ‘Schiphol 8’ would also be applicable. Apart from the royal family, no institute is protected by the Dutch Cabinet as Schiphol.

‘Horizontal noiseless flying is possible’

In 2009 Lelystad got its own ‘Alders table’. Then you already could know: the big misinformation has begun. For example, the local residents around Lelystad were told that horizontal noiseless flying was actually possible.

Lelystad Airport is needed to allow Schiphol to grow a little further. CEO Nijhuis has lured so many fun flights to his airport that the maximum number of half a million flight movements has been reached. With ten thousand flights in the polder there is a bit of stretch in it. But for how long? The International Air Transport Association predicts that the number of air passengers will double in the next twelve years and Schiphol wants to benefit from this. Even if Lelystad goes to 45 thousand flights, which is the intention, that is a drop in the ocean. It will not take long or Nijhuis’s successor will probably use the number of one million. That the whole of the Netherlands will soon come under the arrival and exit routes does not matter.

Schiphol is an rogue organization

At the current rate, researcher Paul Peeters said this week in de Volkskrant, the CO2 emissions from air traffic will increase fivefold in the next half century. And, he observed, there is little to do about it. Rather: no one wants to do anything about it. Pig farmers are being held strictly accountable for their emissions, aircraft farmers are not.

But the limits have been reached on all sides: that of the environment and the nuisance, but especially that of the citizens’ patience. It amazes me how long extremely reasonable people want to stay in conversation with the aviation mafia, continue to think patiently and continue to offer solutions. And how they are subsequently being abused again and again. It is still a miracle that no one has ever taken such a Schiphol suit over the Alders table. Aviation madness must stop. Schiphol is an rogue organization that must finally be brought under control. Preferably by the government, and otherwise by the citizen.