Freighters at Schiphol dealt ‘death strike’ as local rule is rejected

Schiphol Cargo

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s position as an international mainport is at risk after low cost carriers rejected a ‘local rule’ to give priority for spare slots to freighter flights.

The airport is nearing its limit of 500,000 flight movements per year, and freighters are likely to suffer, with the FNV trade union warning that 30 weekly cargo flights may not reach Schiphol due to restrictions, severely impacting operations during the peak season.

A local rule for freight flights advocating a distinction between cargo and passenger flights when it comes to allocating slots was proposed by the FNV, and business associations evofenedex, TLN and Air Cargo Netherlands (ACN) to give freighters a priority for any spare slots.

It says there are 600 additional slots due to factors including bad weather and staff shortages at Ryanair that could be used for freighters but the plan has been rejected by low cost and leisure carriers.

The rejection has been described as “A death strike for the freight sector and the position of Schiphol as international mainport”.

In a joint statement the trade union and business associations say: “Entrepreneurs and the trade union are disappointed that the Coordination Committee Netherlands (CCN) does not attract the importance of freight and prevents its own interests. It is clear that freight at the CCN has an unprotected and even endangered status.”

They also say: “By rejecting such a local rule, the low cost / leisure companies prove that in times of airport scarcity the self-interest is gaining the national importance of the mainport Schiphol.”

It is calling on the government to intervene “to combat the structural loss of freight flights at Schiphol in the coming years”.

The trade union and business associations point out that freight flights only make up 3.5 per cent of movements at Schiphol but are responsible for 20 per cent of employment at the hub.

They warn: “The Netherlands as a logistical turntable will incur irreparable damage if the freight flights at Schiphol are declared fugitive instead of protected.”