Diversions at Eelde

Posted by on Jul 26, 2015 in Blog | Leave a comment

On Friday, the Dutch meteorological office already issued warnings (code orange/red) for several parts of the country. There was a cold front moving over the country and as a result it would become very windy, paired with heavy showers of rain.
When driving to work in the afternoon, the city of Groningen was still getting lots of sun and I didn’t think much of any storm yet. But soon after I started my shift, I received a call from KLM operations, asking us about our capabilities of receiving diversions. That was when the fun started!

I waited anxiously for a few minutes to see if we would actually get anything. With my history in mind (all my colleagues have had diversions during their shifts, except for me), I was just hoping for one. On flightradar24, it was evident that at Amsterdam only 1 runway was open and pretty much every aircraft had to go around on the first attempt. At some point, there was also an emergency in between.

It didn’t take long before the first Eelde-bound aircraft popped up on the screen, it was an Embraer 190 from Bergen (Norway). Within a couple of minutes, #2 showed up. It was another Embraer 190, this one being from Birmingham (UK). But it wasn’t over yet, as another Embraer 190 (Trondheim, Norway) and Boeing 737-700 (Warsaw, Poland) dropped in. All diverting aircraft had to be fueled and waited for the next move.

Eventually, all the passengers of the Embraers deplaned and they were bussed to Amsterdam. Only a handful of passengers of the Boeing 737 got out and that aircraft was the first to depart to Amsterdam. Meanwhile, the storm had now reached us as well and rain was pouring down.

It was in this weather that a Stobart Air ATR-72 was diverting to us as well. They were flying from Southend (UK) to Munster (Germany), but the weather at Munster was not good enough to land either. We get this operator/aircraft on an almost daily basis, so it made sense that they wanted to come to us. Our 3 scheduled Transavia flights had already departed, so we had lots of room to accomodate them and park the aircraft with the nose into the now very strong wind.

Soon after they had landed, the Embraers started up for their ferry flights back to Amsterdam. However, they spent close to an hour at the holding position next to the runway. The wind was too strong from an unfavorable angle (funny enough, a King Air landed and took off right in front of their eyes, while they still had to wait). When the wind died down a bit and got slightly below their limits, they departed. The Stobart ATR spent a good time on the ground aswell. Their passengers were bussed to Munster and the crew were also waiting for the wind to dive below their takeoff limits. Eventually the weather was also good enough for them and they departed back to Southend.

All in for a very very busy afternoon, but what an awesome experience!

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