Dutch shippers call for urgency in local rule implementation after government meeting

30 / 01 / 2018

Dutch shippers and forwarders have urged the country’s transport minister to expedite the implementation of a ‘local rule’ designed to mitigate a freighter slot shortage at Schiphol following a meeting in parliament last week.

Industry groups evofenedex, TLN and Air Cargo Netherlands (ACN) said that during the recent meeting with the Parliament’s Aviation Commission, the Transport Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen acknowledged the need for a local rule for all-cargo carriers at Amsterdam Schiphol, but she didn’t indicate the date of effectiveness. 

“Without the rule being effective, the air cargo industry and its customers fear that the reduction of all-cargo flights at Schiphol will continue,” the groups said.

“This will impact employment in the air cargo industry and may damage the position of Dutch exporters and importers.

“In the current IATA winter season, which started at the end of October, there has been a decrease of around 12% of the number of full freighters calling the main Dutch airport.”

The discussions come as the airport last year almost breached its 500,000 annual aircraft movement cap.

The local rule proposal will see freighter operators receive priority for up to 25% of any unused pre-allocated slots that are returned for re-allocation.

Approval and implementation of the local rule has been delayed due to technical discussion within the Coordination Committee Netherlands (CCN) last December.

But the issue was discussed during a 'local rule' working group meeting mid January.

A second meeting is planned on this topic to draft a final text and subsequently, it will be presented to the CCN for voting in an extraordinary meeting around on February 14.  

CCN‘s advice will be sent to the Ministry of Transport in order for them to check, confirm and communicate to the European Commission.

“The proposed rule should not affect the independent status of the coordinator, must comply with Community law and has to improve the efficient use of airport capacity,” ACN said.

“Moreover, the airport slot co-ordinator of the Netherlands, Airport Coordination Netherlands has to prepare for a swift implementation, hopefully before the IATA summer seasons gets underway (March 25)."

Cargo carriers have suffered disproportionately due to the lack of slots because, under existing IATA rules, any airline that uses more than 80% of its allocated slots acquires a historic right to them and will automatically be allowed to operate its flights next season. But those that use fewer than 80% of their allocated slots automatically lose them.

All-cargo carriers, with their less regular schedules, often find it difficult to comply with the 80% rule. However, a local rule would override this and allow slots to be re-allocated back to cargo airlines.

Schiphol airport has now confirmed that it saw an increase of 5.4% on yearly tonnage in 2017 with strong demand in the Far East for European goods boosting total figures to 1,752,498 tonnes.

Read more cargo airport news