Schiphol set for 5.4% cargo rise in 2017 despite freighter slots row

08 / 01 / 2018

Amsterdam's Schiphol airport saw 2017 full year cargo volume grow by 5.4% to 1.75m tonnes over prior year, according to preliminary traffic and transport figures issued by the Royal Schiphol Group.

The forecast increase comes as Europe's third largest cargo airport by volume awaits the outcome of a Dutch government decision to resolve an aircraft slots shortage at Schiphol which has seen some freighter operators switch a number of flights to rival hubs.

A Dutch government decision — subject to European Union approval — on a "local rule" proposal by flag carrier KLM is expected by the end of January, with implementation from February if given the go ahead.

An official at the Netherlands shippers council, EVO, said that the local rule offers "a more flexible approach on the registration of full freighter flights to maintain historic rights at Schiphol".

It would prioritise slot allocation of unused slots — due to strikes or bad weather for example — for freighter flights. The system is called 'yielding' and is already used at some major European passenger and cargo airports, although EVO added that certain details still need to be worked out.

Amsterdam's predicted 5.4% full year volume increase is likely to compare favourably with its continental rivals. Germany's Frankfurt airport reported a 2017 year to date 4.2% rise for the first eleven months to November, at just over 2m tonnes.

Fourth place London Heathrow has shrugged of Brexit woes with a 10.5% surge in cargo volumes to just over 1.5m tonnes in the first eleven months of 2017. Paris, the second largest cargo gateway in Europe, has seen a 2.5% rise in volumes during the January to November period, to just under 2m tonnes.

The definitive figures for Schiphol will be disclosed upon publication of the financial statements on February 16.

Read more Cargo Airport News