Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport has been getting considerable negative publicity during the past year because of its decision to cut operating slots for freighter carriers. The shipping and
forwarding industry in the Netherlands fears that SPL Airport will eventually become downgraded as cargo carriers are forced to reduce or cease operations there.
Maybe things are starting to change in this respect, although fees will be upped substantially next April.
More freighter slots in the planning?
The Dutch government has been under considerable pressure from the air freight community during the past few months with them demanding that they should rethink the policy regarding allocating slots to all-cargo carriers.
This so called ‘Local Rule’ policy suggested was turned down by the authorities who then came under fierce attack and now it seems that the government is having second thoughts about giving freight carriers better conditions.
Air Cargo Netherlands (ACN) which voices the opinions of the air cargo community at Schiphol has been very active in trying to convince those above to accept the Local Rule suggestion which in essence would give air cargo airlines a first refusal opportunity for 25% of all unused or returned slots at the airport. This, the community said, would help somewhat, enabling cargo carriers to obtain better conditions and make SPL attractive again for the air cargo industry.
The government’s first reactions to this were seen as being negative, however the latest news is that the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Works basically have no real objection to implementing the Local Rule and have requested the Netherlands Airport coordinator (ACNL) to report to them on whether the rule would work. The ACNL has time until the end of November to come to a conclusion before the ministry makes their final decision.
Freighter charges to increase
The above Local Rule issue may well become something of a farce as Schiphol announced at the end of last week that they intend to up the charges for both passenger and freighter flights into the airport as of 1. April 2019.
It is planned that freighter operators will have to fork out at least more than 20%-25% of what they pay today and passenger operators will be hit even harder.
The announced price increase will certainly not be helpful in convincing those cargo carriers who have already moved from Schiphol to other airports such as Liege, Brussels, and Hahn, even if the Local Rule policy were to be put into action.
An unfinished story!
John Mc Donagh
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