In the first 50 years of its existence, Rotterdam The Hague Airport has fulfilled an important role for the regional economic development. Through the increasing popularity of air transportation as the fastest, safest, most environmentally friendly and increasingly affordable method of transport, the importance of Rotterdam The Hague Airport will only increase in the coming years. In an internationally active region like the southwest Netherlands, accessibility of and from abroad plays a crucial role. Rotterdam The Hague Airport, as an important access point to the southwest Netherlands, offers a very important transportation network, which supports not only internationally oriented companies but also (governmental) institutions and organisations. The airport is therefore an indispensable location factor that draws international and high-value business activities to the region. The airport thus makes an important, direct contribution to the maintenance of existing, but especially the creation of new, employment opportunities.
The Dutch business community in general and the (port-related) companies located in this region in particular, are internationally oriented by nature and therefore dependent on air transportation. The position (read: outstanding accessibility) and user-friendliness of Rotterdam The Hague Airport and the fast check-in and check-out options provide travellers with significant time savings, which especially for business passengers, for whom time is money, is of great importance. The demand for flights via regional airports, also called ‘hub-bypassing’, is increasing specifically due to the time savings and ease of travel that can be achieved.
Rotterdam The Hague Airport is, with some 2,500 direct labour positions, one of the largest employers in the southwest Netherlands. Various international researches have shown that the indirect employment opportunity effects are even greater. The presence of Rotterdam The Hague Airport gives our region a competitive advantage and a lead on other regions in the Netherlands and Europe. The outstanding accessibility ‘through the air’ will, certainly given the expected economic developments in the future, be of even greater importance that is already the case. Rotterdam The Hague Airport thus serves the employment opportunity and well-being interests of some 4.5 million Metropolitan Area residents. It is expected that with the recently begun development of a first-class office location at Rotterdam The Hague Airport, another approximately 4,000 extra labour positions will be offered at the airport in the coming years.
Not only the business community and the government, but also the tourism sector profits from the development of Rotterdam The Hague Airport. The sharply improved international accessibility of the region offers Rotterdam and the southwest Netherlands the ability to attract incoming, multi–day stay tourism. The many tourist attractions in our part of the country, such as the Keukenhof, the windmills of Kinderdijk, historic cities such as Delft and Gouda and the cosmopolitan centre of Rotterdam and The Hague, due to Rotterdam The Hague Airport, lie a stone’s throw from the homes of many interested Europeans who are primarily searching for ‘new’ destinations for a short vacation, after they have been to the famous world cities such as London or Paris repeatedly. Tourism to Rotterdam and the region benefits the economy and employment opportunities in the southwest Netherlands because hotels will be more frequently booked and landmarks and museums will be better visited.
A world city like Rotterdam, with one of the largest ports in the world, where, not only in the city itself but also throughout the region, many sport, cultural and other events, such as the marathon, will be organised and where of course a great number of business activities take place, needs an airport with more substantial user options than is currently allowed on the grounds of the designation.
Even before the actual implementation of the previously mentioned designation decision, it was clear that traveling by plane in general and via regional airports in particular is characteristic of the travel behaviour of the passengers of today. The unjustly praised as environmentally friendly train transportation (which is heavily subsidised by all of us as taxpayers) provides – according to the choice of consumers – absolutely no alternative to fast, safe, environmentally friendly and now increasingly attractive in terms of price air travel. The steady growth seen in the number of passengers at Rotterdam The Hague Airport over the past years, from around 250,000 to more than 1.5 million, is the best evidence of this.
The demand for flights to and from Rotterdam The Hague Airport has been such over the past years that the limits for the allowable capacity on the grounds of the designation have been reached and, although the operation of more flights in quite possible organisationally and in terms of infrastructure, no new schedule or ad hoc flights may be added for this reason. For the reasons named, ever-more passengers who want to fly via their own regional airport or who organise flights as part of their profession or on behalf of their companies are disappointed. The expansion of employment opportunities, which on the grounds of market demand would have amounted to several hundred extra jobs, has therefore not taken place.