28 November 2003
AMSTERDAM — Rotterdam Airport has been granted approval to stay operational until midnight in a move designed to inject economic impetus into the harbour city region and create 4,000 jobs in the long-term.
The City’s executive council — made up of the mayor and aldermen and women — proposed extending the closing time because the economic activity in the Rijnmond region was lagging behind the rest of the country. The full council approved the proposal on Thursday.
An estimated 300 jobs will be created in the short-term due to the extra number of flights generated by the extra hour of operating time. In 15 years time, when offices and businesses are established near the airport, the number of new jobs will hit 4,000.
It is more attractive for airlines if Rotterdam Airport is allowed to keep operating until midnight, with the extra landings between 11pm and midnight creating room for extra flights throughout the day. The executive council said the extra flights mean more visitors to the Rotterdam region, which stimulate the regional economy.
But the Labour PvdA, Socialist Party and green-left GroenLinks opposed the extra hour of operations, saying economic activity should not come at the expense of night rest. The parties also said there should be sufficient community support for the extra hour, NOS reported.
The surrounding municipalities of Schiedam, Bergschenhoek and Berkel en Rodenrijs have previously said they were not prepared to put up for discussion an accord reached in 2000 that stipulated in principle that no flights would occur after 11pm.
Despite this, airline company Martinair has welcomed the extended operations, claiming that it would make Rotterdam Airport a lot more popular for tour operators . “Many flights to Southern Europe occur later in the evening or early in the morning,” a spokesman said.
KLM also applauded the move. Its subsidiary, Cityhopper, has been considering expanding the number of its flights from Rotterdam for some time.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch news