The management at the small Den Helder Airport in the Netherlands have revealed new scheduled air services to Aberdeen in Scotland and Esbjerg in Denmark, are on the cards after extensive work renovating part of the facility was reopened to traffic this week. The airport, which also operates as a naval station under the name Maritiem Vliegkamp De Kooy, is mainly used by helicopter traffic bringing workers to and from offshore oil rigs and wind farms in the North Sea.
The number of aircraft movements at Den Helder Airport has risen over the past few years to more than 23,000 per annum. The airport provides forty to fifty flights per day, mainly to the 130 oil, gas and service platforms in the Dutch sector of the North Sea and on average 140,000 passengers, mainly offshore personnel, pass through the facility every year.
This makes the airport in the Kop van Noord-Holland one of the largest offshore heliports in Northwestern Europe. However, as North Sea oil resources reduce and the ultimate loss of many of its helicopter movements, alternative markets are being looked at, such as business and holiday flights.
There are currently no scheduled services to and from Den Helder although Loganair did offer links to Manchester and Norwich in March 2013 for a short period. Any growth is restricted by the airport’s 4,100 ft runway, although discussions are reported to be at an advanced stage to reintroduce international routes.
“Thanks to renovation of the platform, over the next few years we will be better able to serve new growth markets, thereby considerably strengthening our position as the international centre for offshore activities in the North Sea. We aim to become the economic powerhouse for the entire region, and have announced the ambition of doubling the number of jobs on offer, over the next few years. In other words, our focus is clearly aimed at future opportunities,” explained Conny van den Hoff, director, Den Helder Airport.
Over the next few years, Den Helder Airport aims to attract new markets. Thanks to a recently announced permit, the airport can continue to grow to 27,000 aircraft movements per year and it is currently in negotiation with a “number of interested providers of scheduled flight services”.
These scheduled and/or charter services (with a maximum capacity of around 30 passengers), will most likely support the transport of offshore personnel from the Netherlands and abroad and include possible scheduled services to Aberdeen in Scotland and Esbjerg in Denmark.