AMSTERDAM – A low flyby of a KLM Boeing 777-300 – escorted by 4 Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16AM’s – right over downtown Amsterdam, has frightened many citizens of Amsterdam Thursday afternoon. It turned out to be a special flyby to celebrate 100 years of Dutch Aviation in the Netherlands.
The people of Amsterdam suddenly saw the KLM B777 flyby with the escorting F-16s pop out of nowhere and wondered if something serious was going on. It was quite understandable that people were frightened, when you think of the terror attack last year in Amsterdam on August 31, where 2 American tourists were stabbed.
But 9/11 probably was going through people’s mind too. After all, it’s quite rare to see an airliner fly over the Amsterdam city centre, escorted by fighter jets. This awkward situation led to the anger of many people in Amsterdam.
KLM said it regrets the flyby caused a lot of fear amongst the people of Amsterdam. It’s not sure why the organization of the event didn’t announce the flyby. Perhaps the presence of the King and recent terror threats in Amsterdam caused the organization to keep this flyby a secret. Although there are rumours that Police authorities adviced to keep it a secret, but to announce the flyby on Thursday, the day of the flyby.
Todays unannounced flyby was to celebrate 100 years of Dutch aviation in the Netherlands. Dutch Aviation pioneers KLM, Fokker and the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) jointly celebrated their centenary at the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam. Exactly 100 years ago, the First Aviation Exhibition Amsterdam (ELTA) was held right here.
Today speakers looked back on 100 years of Dutch aviation, but also looked forward to a more sustainable future. King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands – who is a jet pilot himself – was there to mint a special commemorative coin. Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management was presented with a special series of aviation postage stamps.
To conclude today’s celebration of 100 years of aviation in the Netherlands, the KLM and the RNLAF performed the flyby over the waters of the IJ river, behind the Amsterdam Central Station.
In October of this year KLM will also celebrate its 100th anniversary. KLM – Royal Dutch Airlines is officially the oldest airline in the world.
(Top photo: KLM)