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View from the cockpit

Release date:
November 2022
Texel Airport’s (EHTX) director, Mike de Bruijn, on running a family business, island life and the ‘greenest’ airport in the Netherlands. 


You are following in the footsteps of your father and grandfather in managing Texel Airport, was it always what you wanted to do?


Texel Airport is very much part of our family. My grandfather Joop de Bruijn started working at the airport in 1964 having previously worked with KLM. My father, Ed, was 11 years old at the time and just six years later in 1970 he started working at the airport part-time. By 1974 he was employed full-time and in 1982 when Joop retired, my father took up the helm as the airport director. I then started working at the airport in the mid 90s, again part-time, before joining as a full-time employee in 2003. In 2018 I took over the reins from my father as director, although he is still very much involved in the day-to-day running of the airport. 


What sort of air traffic does your airport typically cater for?


Texel is a popular hub for general aviation and particularly the parachuting and skydiving community. Texel Air, which operates leisure and sightseeing flights, Paracentrum Texel skydiving school and Flying Focus which specialises in aerial photography are all based at the airport. In addition, we have several flying schools from around the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany using the airport, as well as aerial surveillance companies. It’s also used by the Dutch Police and Dutch Coastguard when operating emergency and rescue services in the region. 


Texel has a customs service to handle international flights, although no scheduled international flights take place from the airport, is this something you’re looking to change?


The airport was declared an international hub in the 70s when Joon was in charge. Although the Ministry of Justice in The Netherlands is planning to stop the international status for small airports, we will continue to operate as an international hub for as long as we are able. 


Texel is the largest North Sea island in the Netherlands, what are the main attractions for visitors?


The island has plenty to offer visitors. For outdoor enthusiasts there is a spectacular 30km long sandy beach and nature reserves, as well as numerous cycling trails and golf courses to discover. Those seeking out cultural attractions can visit the lighthouse, which is more than 150 years old, one of the many island villages or the island’s museums. April to October tend to the most popular months for visitors on the island, but it has plenty to offer all year round. 


Why is Texel described as the ‘greenest’ airport in the Netherlands?


It’s in reference to our beautiful grass runways. This can impact air traffic if there’s been heavy rainfall, but other than that we don’t have many restrictions. Our main runway has a lava grain in the top layer, which is then covered in grass, which enables us to remain operational throughout the winter months. 


How are you embracing sustainable growth within your airport operations?


We are working hard to make our airport sustainable for the future. One of the key initiatives we are working on currently is with the flying schools looking at using electric aircraft and the infrastructure needed to support that. 


How important is your relationship with Air bp in terms of that sustainable growth?


We are proud to have Air bp as our fuel supplier and are really happy with our relationship. The company’s commitment to provide a safe, reliable and sustainable fuel supply is something we and our customers really value. It’s a partnership that also gives us confidence in our own ability to grow sustainably. 


How important is Texel Airport to the local community?


The airport is a gateway to the island so is really important to the local community, both in terms of the economy and connectivity. In addition, it is privately owned, so doesn’t require public funding. 


What does the future hold for the airport?


In line with our planned growth, we have already acquired a hotel and restaurant on site at the airport. It’s the perfect place to stay for pilots and their passengers visiting the island. They have a view of their aircraft from their balcony. In addition, we are exploring opportunities to support electric aircraft as well as ways in which we can grow passenger and flight school traffic. There are certainly exciting times ahead!  


For more information on our locations in the Netherlands please click here and for more customer interviews, click here.