Six stranded Lufthansa Boeing 747s will be allowed to depart from a Netherlands Airport after the Dutch aviation authority issued Twente Airport with a one-time departure permit. The aircraft had been unable to leave the facility due to their weight.
Many four-engined aircraft have been retired since the start of the pandemic. An even larger number of aircraft have been grounded as the vast capacity of giants such as the Airbus A380, and the Boeing 747 isn’t generally needed. Typically aircraft are stored at a facility where they can leave. However, this seems to have been somehow missed when six Boeing 747s were stored at The Netherlands’ Twente Airport.
Aircraft allowed to depart
The Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) is part of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in the Netherlands and is the region’s aviation authority. This morning the ILT revealed that it had come to an agreement with Twente Airport.
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The ILT will allow the six Lufthansa Boeing 747s stranded in Twente permission to depart. However, the consent is being issued strictly as a one-off exception. The NL Times reports that both the ILT and Twente Airport has agreed that such a situation must never be repeated.
To allow the aircrafts’ departure, the ILT has laid out specific safety protocols for the departures. One of the restrictions is that the aircraft must be light, and therefore carry little fuel. This will limit their range upon departure from the airport.
The agreement means that legal action due to be filed by the airport this afternoon will now be avoided. Three of Lufthansa’s Boeing 747s have already been sold, and now that the issue has been resolved, the first aircraft is expected to depart shortly.
Why were the aircraft stuck?
There seems to have been some confusion with the acceptance of the six Boeing 747s at Twente. In the east of The Netherlands, the airport has a permit that allows for widebody aircraft to land at the facility. However, the aircraft aren’t permitted to depart from the airport due to their weight. As such, the expectation is that widebody aircraft will only land at the facility to be dismantled.
Around the world, many four-engined aircraft have been grounded as a result of the current situation. Indeed, Lufthansa has even retired many such aircraft early, including half of its Airbus A380 fleet. Another facility being used by the airline is Teruel in Spain. The Spanish aircraft graveyard currently houses eight of the airline’s Airbus A380s, alongside its entire fleet of Airbus A340-600 aircraft.
Are you glad to see that the stranded aircraft have been permitted to depart? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!