A view at the impressive tower of this former NATO Dispersed Operating Base. The airfield opened in 1956 and aircraft from United States Air Force fighter-bomber wings deployed here, normally one squadron at a time. No flying unit was ever permanently assigned, it was used for dispersal training only. In 1967 the US forces left after the French withdrawal from the NATO structure. It was then used by the French Air Force for training. From about 2000 it was rebuilt as a civil airport. During my visit there wasn't a single aircraft.
'Why isn't anybody comning?' Air Turquoise happened to be moving its flights from Reims to this place on this very day, 28 June 2006. However, it is so far from Reims that the selling point was flight times reduced by ten minutes for southbound flights! Coincidentally or not, Air Turquoise folded within a month. Ryanair's 'Paris - Vatry ' is almost 150 km from Paris and over 100 km from Disneyland. The airport handled less than 100,000 passengers in 2014.
Checking out this eerie airport on a summer evening I heard this rare bird spooling up its deafening D-30K engines. I climbed up a pile of pallets and hoped she might taxi past this spot, which she did in the last usable light at 9.30 PM.