Airline Nordica Air says that it is far from ready to close its base at Groningen Airport Eelde. According to a spokesperson for Nordica, the basis for this is far too valuable.
This arrangement is almost at odds with the idea that lives with the management of the Drenthe airport. A letter from director Marco van de Kreeke to the Supervisory Board and the shareholders shows that Van de Kreeke has a hard head that the daily flights to Copenhagen and Munich remain with Nordica.
‘We are hopeful’
The airport is talking to airlines to take over the flights, if Nordica pulled the plug. Nordica recently broke the contract with the airport, because she wants more money from ‘Eelde’.
At the headquarters of the airline in the Estonian capital Tallinn is not thought to stop, according to spokesman Märt Sibrik. That writes RTV Drenthe.
“These flights are important for Nordica and for the airport in Eelde, we try to find a solution as quickly as possible, it is also important for our passengers, and the number of passengers is still growing, which is why we are hopeful.”
Flights over a longer period of time
But when asked what solution Nordica sees, there is no clear answer. “That is part of a conversation”, says Sibrik. “Everything is running as it should, you can book flights over a long period of time, which says something about how important we think it is.”
Nordica is currently in the midst of a reorganization. For example, three scheduled liner services and a further eight summer services have been canceled. The top has been replaced at the head office. The new CEO of Nordica, Hannes Saarpuu, has been commissioned to remove unprofitable lines that have no added value for their own Estonian population.
However, the company is still engaged in liner services outside the home country. For example, Nordica has won an order to carry out domestic flights in Sweden. The cheaper ATR72 aircraft are used on these routes. According to Sibrik the basis of Nordica at Groningen Airport Eelde also belongs to this branch of Nordica.
Nordica has been receiving a contribution from the route fund since the start of the routes to Copenhagen and Munich for every seat that is not occupied. It’s about millions. In the end this contribution will stop and the flights must be profitable. Despite the fact that the number of passengers according to the airport and Nordica is increasing monthly, the cost of flights is much too high. For example, the aircraft has been stationary for too long, there are too few flights with this aircraft, the number of passengers is less than expected, there is a flight with an expensive aircraft and Nordica has to deal with higher fuel prices.
“The average ticket price is too low”, concludes director Marco van de Kreeke. Both parties had hoped for more business travelers. In aviation, the later you buy a ticket, the more expensive they are. And if you, as a business traveler, buy more expensive flexible flight tickets, this will be more profitable for the airline company.
But the northern business traveler does not opt for Groningen Airport Eelde. The northern business community was asked to embrace the airport when the shareholders decided to invest 46 million in Eelde. Companies wanted to, but there is little of it. “Attempts, together with regional partners, to obtain advance guarantees for the purchase of a quantity of more expensive tickets seemed promising at first, but ultimately they did not succeed.” This can be read in the letter from director Marco van de Kreeke.
Spokesman Märt Sibrik of Nordica Air is still optimistic about a new contract between the airport in Drenthe and society. “We are in negotiations and hope for the best, but I can not say anything about the solution yet.” For a long time the negotiations will not last likely. because the longer it lasts, the worse it is for the bookings.