Air Cargo Netherlands (ACN) pleads for a new freighter initiative at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in the months to come, its chairman Ivo Aris said at the organization’s New Year’s reception last week. According to him, the airport’s meagre 2019 traffic figures have proven that the ‘Local Rule 2’ did not bring the hoped-for revival.
The slot-related full freighter issue was by far the most important item on the ACN agenda in 2019, Mr Aris said. “Last year, from this very spot, I told you that there was some light at the end
of the tunnel.”
“On 24 April, we were able to communicate that Dutch Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen had approved the so-called ‘Local Rule 2’, which would create more space for full freighters at Schiphol by allocating a relatively large part -25%- of non-used slots in a season to the cargo sector.”
According to Mr Aris it is very clear, however, that this was no more than a drop in the ocean, as the number of full freighter flights kept going down (-12%) as a result of slot scarcity.
ACN sees white smoke
An ‘Air Cargo Monitor’ commissioned by ACN, KLM and SADC (Schiphol Area Development Company) at Amsterdam Erasmus University, concluded an added value of 2 billion euros and 25,000 FTE’s at the airport contributed by the air cargo sector. Supported by this study, ACN entered into an alliance with KLM, Schiphol, evofenedex (exporters), Fenex (forwarders), and TLN (logistics companies), to approach the minister with a shared vision.
Last week, this effort was endorsed by Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop, who said that the air cargo industry at AMS needed extra attention because, in the latest slot ruling, full freighters still drew the short straw. “As it turned out, the ‘Local Rule 2’ did not bring THE solution,” said Mr Aris.
However, thanks to the vigorousness of the Schiphol Board and the concerted efforts of the stakeholders closely involved in the industry, a solid solution to create space for freighters is being worked out, he stated. “I express the emphatic hope that we will see white smoke in the months to come. Only with a clear ruling and a workable number of slots for freighters, can Schiphol maintain its position as an important European cargo hub.”
Getting rid of side-effects
Mr Aris advocates a ruling which would allow the industry to know for a longer period what capacity would be available for freighters. “Which would bring clarity and peace to the market, so that companies would be encouraged to invest, and which would get rid of negative side-effects.”
In this respect, Mr Aris named the large and far from sustainable stream of trucks - hundreds per week - commuting between Schiphol and other European airports with cargo that was not able to land at Schiphol. “It has also created a ‘yo-yo spill-over effect’ at Maastricht Airport. And, at AMS, there is also the almost impossible task ground handlers have to face in their planning, leading to truck queueing.”
Marcel Schoeters in Amsterdam
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