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History of Weeze Airport

Foundation of the British military base Weeze/Laarbruch. The Royal Air Force (RAF) stationed here among others Tornados, Buccaneers and Harriers.

Foundation of “Flughafen Niederrhein GmbH”. The company develops usage concepts for the airport grounds as there are fears that the British will give up the site with the loss of 5,000 military personnel.

The British government decides the withdrawal of the Royal Air Force from Weeze.

The usage concept “Euregional Center for Aviation, Logistics and Trade“ is widely accepted in the Netherlands and Germany. The approval process begins.

After 45 years, the Royal Air Force leaves its base Weeze/Laarbruch on November 30th. The new owner is the federal government, which hands over the grounds to the district of Kleve.

A Dutch group of investors buys the airport and takes over the 620 hectare site. On June 20th the aviation permit for civil flight operations is granted.

Conversion work begins, the passenger terminal and apron are completely rebuilt. German air traffic control installs a tower.

On Mai 1st, more than three years after the end of military flight operations, the first scheduled flight starts – a plane operated by low-cost-carrier Ryanair – takes off from the new “Niederrhein Airport” to London. In October, the Dutch airline VBird bases four Airbus A 320 in Weeze.

Ryanair expands its range of offers from Weeze by adding the destinations Glasgow and Girona to their winter flight schedule. In addition Sky Airlines offer as the first holiday airline flights to Antalya. Despite increasing passenger numbers, VBird is unable to stay on the market and ceases operations.

The renowned German holiday airline Hapagfly and TUI announce their engagement in Weeze with flights to Mallorca and Antalya.

In a legal dispute with 16 residents living near the airport and the Dutch municipality of Bergen about aircraft noise, the Higher Administrative Court in Münster revokes the aviation permit and justifies this with deficiencies in the operating license issued by the Düsseldorf district government. The district government needs to improvements. Flight operations continue unchanged.

Ryanair expands Weeze into its third German home base. Hamburg International starts operations from Weeze. In May the runway system is renovated and upgraded for five million euros. The new high-performance lighting system enables safe approaches even in poor visibility conditions.

From January, Airport Weeze becomes a member of the ADV Directorate, the body of international airports, and rises thus to the top league of airports. The airport breaks the million passengers mark for the first time.

Thanks to excellent passenger numbers, Airport Weeze ranks third among the six international airports in North Rhine-Westphalia. Hamburg International is stationing an Airbus A 319 in Weeze.

The legal dispute over the operating licence has ended: the airport reaches an out-of-court settlement with all plaintiffs. In order to accommodate more passengers, alterations are made within the terminal. Shops and restaurants are created on 1,500 square meters. The airport becomes a customs airport.

Due to a new air traffic tax, the airport records almost 500,000 fewer passengers than in its record year of 2010. Hamburg International files for bankruptcy in October. Located on the airport site, the largest solar power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia is connected to the grid. 60,000 solar panels produce 13 million kilowatt hours of electricity. The airport draws a large part of its own electricity demand from this photovoltaic system.

In November the runway receives over a length of 1,400 meters new layers of asphalt base and wearing courses within three days.

Ryanair introduces eight new routes and stations a ninth jet in Weeze. Airport CEO Ludger van Bebber welcomes the 15 millionth passenger at the airport.

Ryanair withdraws three of their jets stationed in Weeze for the summer flight schedule. The airline has a bottleneck in subsequent deliveries of new aircraft. Airport Weeze sells the site with the largest solar energy system in North Rhine-Westphalia to the district of Kleve. The Mud Masters obstacle run takes place for the first time on the grounds of Airport Weeze.

Several providers include package holidays from Weeze in their program. The airport generates a profit of 2.3 million euros. Parookaville, an electronic dance music festival developed by three people from Weeze, celebrates a brilliant premiere on the grounds of Airport Weeze with 25,000 visitors. Star-DJs use the infrastructure and travel by private jet.

The association of taxpayers attests Airport Weeze good financial economy. The Royal Air Force museum on the history of the Royal Air Force in Weeze and the lower Rhine region located on the airport grounds, receives a Canberra bomber as an exhibit. The plane was once stationed in Weeze. The airport is named by the newspaper “Die Welt” as the most punctual airport in Germany.

The airport has been a Ryanair base for ten years. Around 20 million passengers flew from Weeze with Ryanair. The airport has grown faster than any other commercial airport in Germany. Around 300 rescue workers complete a large-scale emergency exercise in accordance with the standards of the international civil aviation organization (ICA/EASA) on the airport site. 50,000 music fans celebrate at Parookaville.

Airport Weeze is climate-friendly: with two solar power plants, the airport produces significantly more renewable energy than the total amount it consumes, making it CO2-neutral. Airport Weeze welcomes the 25 millionth passenger. Parookaville presents its 80,000 visitors with the longest festival stage at 200 meters. Around 20,000 rescue workers from all sectors and countries train the emergency at Training Base Weeze (TBW), founded in 2012.

The Euregio Rhein-Waal uses Airport Weeze as a test track for an EU-project for “automated driving”. The major events Parookaville, Mud Masters and Impaqt ensure around 180,000 visitors on the airport site. They make the entire region better known internationally. The handling agent Solid Handling founds and bases the airline Exxaero-Jet for private aviators at Airport Weeze. Ryanair is reducing its range of offers.

Due to the Corona pandemic and the first lockdown, Ryanair temporarily suspends flight operations on 25 March. On 1 June, flight operations restart, but with reduced services. Parookaville is cancelled. Ludger van Bebber moves to Dortmund Airport. Dr Sebastian Papst is appointed as the new Managing Director on 1 October.

The Corona pandemic continues. Flight operations are significantly reduced in the first four months. From May onwards the number of passengers increases again Corendon flies to Antalya, Hurghada, Crete and Rhodes for the first time in the summer. Flight operations recover in the summer – 36 destinations are flown to. Parookaville does not take place this year either because of the pandemic.

Morocco, an important destination for Weeze, closes its airspace until the end of March. From April air traffic picks up again, the catch-up effect ensures many bookings. The airport scores with punctuality and good service. In the summer season, the airport again achieves over 90 per cent of its pre-Corona volume. In June, the airport celebrates its 15th anniversary as a Ryanair base. The number of passengers exceeds one million again for the first time. Parookaville takes place again after a two-year break – 225,000 people celebrate over three days at Weeze Airport. The San Hejmo music festival establishes another mega-event at the airport’s event area.