Could Schiphol be set to earn extra slots?

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol could be set to receive an increase in slots from 2021 but it will need to meet certain criteria if it is to qualify for the extra capacity.

Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen has revealed plans that will see the capacity constrained airport gain extra slots if it can reduce its impact on the local community.

Among other things, the minister wants the number of night flights to decrease. In addition to limiting “nuisance”, the sustainability of aviation will also play a central role.

How much Schiphol receives in additional flight movements per year will be determined after the nuisance for local residents – based on hard indicators – has been limited.

Van Nieuwenhuizen said: “Schiphol is one of the pillars of the Dutch economy. We are a trading country. We earn our living with our national airport with its direct connections to all continents. International companies are based here because of Schiphol. They provide jobs.

“There is also work for the many who work at Schiphol or at the airlines. At the same time we see that people in the vicinity of the airport experience a lot of nuisance. We want to reduce that nuisance considerably and we make that a hard condition. The time of ‘the sky is the limit’ is over. We’re going to do it differently. Schiphol will first have to earn every step of growth. “

The move comes as the government prepares to adopt a new aviation strategy covering until 2050.

At the moments the airport is limited to 500,000 movements a year, a limit that it has reached.

As a consequence, some freighter operators have moved services to nearby hubs as all-cargo carriers rely on spare slots more than passenger airlines.

There is some hope that a ‘local rule’ giving freighter airlines preference on what spare slots there are could help ease the situation.

In total, van Nieuwenhuizen has stated that the absolute limit for the airport is 540,000 movements.

Van Nieuwenhuizen concluded: “We all want to fly together, but we also all want peace and clean air. Bringing this together is complex. Based on all the conversations we have had in the past year, I am convinced that things can and must be done differently.

“I want a good balance with clear rules that are strictly enforced. Clear conditions that are verifiable for everyone. An approach whereby we work the other way around and the sector receives something after it has been earned. Butter with the fish. The autopilot goes off. “


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