Schiphol cargo market to benefit from extended slot rule change

By Damian Brett

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport at night

Freighter operators flying to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport are likely to benefit from an extension to slot rules changes in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Schiphol’s slot procedure changed in mid-March when Airport Coordination Netherlands (ACNL) temporarily lifted the Local Rule 2 (LR2) due to the global Covid-19 outbreak.

Initially, the rule change was due to expire on June 6. However, this has now been extended for the entire summer season (S20), which typically runs until the last Sunday in October.

Under LR2, the number of slots available for reallocation is limited, but the temporary lifting of the rule frees up freight operations as other airlines offer up their unused allocation.

ACNL said: “In the current exceptional circumstance due to the Covid-19 outbreak LR2 works contra-productive. Under LR2 the number of slots available for reallocation is limited and the way of reallocation is inflexible.

“Since the 0utbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, ACNL had seen a significant reduction of the waitlist [for slots]. In the past two weeks the number of slots that were handed back have exceeded the actual wait list demands by far.

“Given the actual wide availability of slots consequentially effective immediately, ACNL will suspend LR2 for the remainder S20 season.

“Slots that have been returned to the pool will be offered shortly based on the regular priorities of the remaining S20 [Schiphol] wait list. Hereafter there will be sufficient (day) slots available for the remainder S20.

“Slot requests will be handled on a first come first serve basis respecting the parameters of the capacity declaration, including those for the night.”

Over the last couple of years the airport had seen freighter operators move to nearby rivals because the airport had reached its slot limit and IATA rules favour regular passenger services.

LR2 had been introduced to try and protect remaining freighter services, guaranteeing all-cargo airlines access to a limited number of unused slots.

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