27 February, 2024

East Midlands Airport proud to host MOD flights

East Midlands Airport (EMA) proudly hosted flights on behalf of the Ministry of Defence last week, taking troops to Germany and Poland for the start of NATO's Exercise Steadfast Defender.

The Airbus A330 aircraft may have been spotted on the runway and in the skies above EMA over the past week as it made nine trips across to Hannover in Germany and back, basing itself at EMA. A further seven trips across to Szczecin operated at the weekend.

Exercise Steadfast Defender is the largest NATO exercise in decades with over 90,000 military personnel taking part from 31 NATO countries and partner nations.

The first flight saw soldiers from the 7th Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team Headquarters, who are based at Kendrew Barracks in Cottesmore, Rutland, fly out from the airport to Poland for the start of the exercise. The Rutland based troops are leading NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) Land Forces which is the highest-readiest element of NATO’s larger Response Force. The powerful and highly mobile VJTF can deploy within days anywhere in the world in support of NATO allies.

They were quickly followed by troops from the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment who are also based at Kendrew Barracks and are the spearhead of the VJTF.

EMA is in a position to support the flights because the length of its runway at 2,894m. Coordinating the logistics for these flights can present challenges, but EMA’s dedicated teams and third party colleagues work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs smoothly, safely and on schedule.

 EMA’s Head of Airfield Operations, Lauren Turner, said: “We’re proud to be able to support the MOD with these flights.

 “As we continue to build relationships with our colleagues at the MOD, we would be really happy to support them again in the future. We also know that lots of people love to see the A330 on site and in the air around the airport.”

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