The Amsterdam cargo community is preparing an update of the present Local Rule II, that would boost the number of additional slots for cargo operations at Schiphol (AMS). Air cargo issues were part of a debate on national level in the Dutch Parliament last month.
The Debate in the Commission for Infrastructure and Water Management was attended by the responsible Minister, M.G. I. Harbers. It was the first ‘offline’ debate on aviation since Covid
Prior to the debate, Air Cargo Netherlands presented a Position Paper explaining what the air cargo community is advocating and what is expected of the government in this respect.
One important issue listed, is a fast determination of the so-called ‘Luchthavenverkeersbesluit (LVB) Schiphol’; a comprehensive framework governing all aspects concerning Amsterdam Airport. The air cargo sector also stressed the importance of space reserved for cargo operations.
Maastricht and AMS freighter slots
“For the cargo community, 2 issues were of the utmost importance,” says ACN’s Managing Director, Maarten van As. “First, the role of Maastricht Airport and its national importance and, secondly, the capacity for cargo aircraft at Schiphol. We have learned that the Minister is aware of the Maastricht issue. The cabinet is looking at both Maastricht and Groningen Airport, even if this remains somewhat vague.”
On the local level, talks are on-going regarding the capacity for freighters at AMS, Mr. van As adds. “The minister understands the importance of Schiphol as a cargo airport, and has expressed his concern on the lack of capacity. The idea of a genuine ‘slot pool’ for cargo flights is apparently out of the question, as it is legally incompatible with the European legislation. We are looking into this matter, as the said legislation does not explicitly state that it is not allowed. This looks like being a long story.”
The talks in question are about an update of the present Local Rule II. “The actual rule provides for 25% of non-used and returned slots to be used for cargo flights. The new concept would raise this share to 50%. On average, some 10,000 slots are not used and returned, so theoretically some 5,000 slots could be added to the existing 13,000 slots for cargo operations.”
Always ad-hoc slots
“In this respect, there are two aspects to be taken into account. First of all, we have to accept that these additional slots will always be ad-hoc and can never be claimed as historical rights. Secondly, you are never sure if you will get them in the end, but the odds are 90%.”
“Another very important aspect of the actual Local Rule II, is that the available slots can only be redistributed when the season has already started. In the new proposal, we are looking into a way to enable the use of these 5,000 slots at the beginning of the season, including a sort of ‘emergency break’ at the end of the season in case there would be too many slots issued. This concept is presently being drafted and will have to be checked by the Ministry and the Slot Coordinator. We call on them to act quickly.”
Marcel Schoeters in Amsterdam
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