schiphol © Jan Kranendonk
© Jan Kranendonk

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is to increase the charges for freighter flights by a minimum of 29% from April 1, while the minimum increase for passenger flights will be 44%.

Yesterday it published its fee increases for the next three years: 2019 is set to see the highest increases at an average of 10.7%; 2020 charges will rise 8.7% on average; and 2021, by 4.2%.

In a move that was widely welcomed, the airport has significantly increased charges for older aircraft, with freighter operators looking at a 249% rise for night take-offs in the noisiest aircraft and paying 83% more during the day.

 

Freighter operators must pay €1.96 per 1,000kg for a night time take off in the most modern aircraft, or €1.30 per 1,000kg during the day.

schiphol

Passenger flights using connected stands face increases nearly double that of freighters, but the airport said that, in fact, the raises were lower than its original proposal.

“The decrease as compared to the proposal is caused by the decision of Schiphol to exclude the cost ofa possible hard Brexit, include the contribution of the Dutch government [for a project], decrease digital investments, slightly adjust the traffic and transport forecast as well as a slight adjustment of allocation keys,” it noted.

The news follows progress on the ‘local rule’, which has the potential to offer freighter operators more ad hoc slots. The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Works reversed an earlier decision to make no objections to the implementation of the rule.

It would give freighter operators priority for the first 25% of unused slots that are to be re-allocated, as well as the ability for airlines to adjust their schedules so as not to fall foul of a rule removing historical rights to slots for delayed flights, a particular challenge for cargo flights. Organisations such as Air Cargo Netherlands (ACN) have vigorously lobbied for the local rule.

Airport Coordination Netherlands has until November 30 to carry out a feasibility study, before the ministry makes its final decision.

“The ministry judges that there are no legal objections and the rule is effective,” explained Ben Radstaak, director of innovation and compliance for CAN. “The last step is an assessment by the slot coordinator, which will be done this month.

“For all airlines, changing schedules will no longer lead to the loss of historic rights and there will be a better system of reallocating returned and unused slots during the season.

“The latter will be in a 25:75 ratio for full freighters and other aircraft, respectively.”

However, last month, Schiphol’s head of aviation marketing, Maaike van der Windt, told The Loadstar she doubted the local rule would make much difference.

“There are not a lot of un-utilised slots, so it won’t necessarily make much difference, because we are almost at capacity,” she said.

Mr Radstaak however was more optimistic: “It’s correct that the lack of slots is an issue, at least for the next two years, but the local rule would still be beneficial for freighters in particular, as their business model forces them to adapt their schedules to changes in demand. The local rule will make that easier, both in view of keeping historic rights and getting slots for additional (adhoc) flights.”

Schiphol’s September cargo volumes were down 3% year on year.

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