KLM Cityhopper have been flying the Fokker 70 regional jet into Durham Tees Valley and other UK destinations for many years. It has become a familiar sight over the skies of Teesside as it comes and goes three times a day on our link to Amsterdam Schiphol.
However, on the 28th October 2017 the aircraft type will be retired from KLM’s fleet, and we’ll see brand new Embraer 175s flying into DTVA every day.
So FoDTVA decided to organise a trip for members to fly on the Fokker 70 one last time a week before it was retired, spending the day in Amsterdam.
As the group met at 5am to check in for our flight to Amsterdam, it was a good opportunity for us to witness first hand the refurbishment and development that has been taking place in the terminal at Durham Tees Valley. This includes a cafe in the check-in area and, once through security, a revamped departure lounge with new seating, floors and a new cafe/bar. In the future a duty free shop will also be opened.
We had enquired with the Duty Manager whether it would be possible to take a group picture in front of the aircraft before we departed. Helpfully, it was arranged for us to do this before passengers were invited to board. Our flashing cameras drew the attention of the captain of our flight, who was in the cockpit preparing for departure. He came down to find out who we were, and offered to pose for the photo with us. A nice touch!
Boarding took place swiftly, with a close to full flight out to Amsterdam. We took the opportunity to give the captain and first officer some of our squidgy aeroplanes and an information card on the FoDTVA group, which they gratefully accepted. Shortly afterwards we departed on runway 23, up into the windy, rainy darkness.
Thanks to the connection we’d already made with the crew, the captain came into the cabin and offered one of our members the chance to sit in the cockpit ‘jump seat’ for landing in Amsterdam; unlike in UK law, the Netherlands do not have a ban on this. So group Secretary Chris was the lucky person chosen to go into the cockpit once we were over international waters, while the rest of us enviously finished our complimentary snacks and drinks in the back.
As you can see from the pictures, Chris had a fantastic view of the landing in misty Amsterdam, less than an hour after departing Teesside. He had the chance to quiz the crew on what it was like to fly the Fokker 70 and how the aircraft is controlled.
After landing the crew clearly felt sorry for the rest of us and let the group wait on the plane until the other passengers departed. We then had the chance for some pictures on the tarmac before getting the crew bus to the terminal.
The group had the chance to do as they wished once in Amsterdam. Some opted to go into the city, whilst others took the train to Lelystad Airport where the excellent Aviodrome Museum is located.
Others chose to hang around the airport, enjoying the Panorama Terrace with impressive views over the terminals and runways. Amsterdam Schiphol is one of Europe’s busiest airports, with connections to almost 200 destinations.
On the afternoon many of the group took the Behind the Scenes Tour of Schiphol, taking us to parts of the airport rarely seen by the public. It is a huge site, with 6 runways.
Finally, as it got dark, the group started to assemble again in the departure lounge of the airport. It was time for food and some shopping, before our flight back home.
The bus took us out to our aircraft for the flight home. You have the curious situation whereby you take off and land at exactly the same time, due to the time difference and the flight which takes exactly one hour.
So, at around 9.30pm we were swooping down through the cloud and over the towns of Teesside, before landing for the last time on a Fokker 70 aircraft.
We were swiftly through passport control and into our cars in no time, reinforcing just how convenient our airport is for travelling through.
Here’s a video of our takeoff from Amsterdam
This was a trip to enjoy the Fokker 70 one last time, but also a chance for members to experience our link with the rest of the world. KLM’s flight between Durham Tees Valley and Amsterdam Schiphol operates three times per day, with full onboard service, and onward links to anywhere in Europe or the rest of the world. It is simple, easy, and hassle-free thanks to Schiphol’s single terminal concept, where passengers get off one aircraft and board another without having to leave the building or transfer to another terminal.
Book your flight from Durham Tees Valley here: www.klm.com
Our thanks go out to the amazing staff at Durham Tees Valley and the KLM Cityhopper crews.