Dutch shipper groups welcome progress at Lelystad Airport

By Damian Brett

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport at night

Dutch shipper and logistics groups have welcomed reports that the opening of Lelystad Airport has taken a step forward, potentially opening up space for freighters at Schiphol.

Dutch national broadcaster NOS has reported that the European Commission (EC) is set to approve regulation that will allow flights to be distributed between Lelystad and Schiphol, which are both owned by the Schiphol Group.

The EC’s decision is expected to be published by the end of the month.

This regulation had been a key sticking point in the opening of the airport. It is hoped that leisure airlines will transfer to the new airport while long-haul airlines with connecting flights will concentrate at Schiphol.

Airlines that move over to Lelystad will either return their slots to Schiphol’s slot coordinator or they will need to be used on their own connecting flights.

Airlines will have to agree to move flights across to the new airport, but it is hoped this could create extra space for freighter aircraft at slot constrained Schiphol – last year the third busiest airport in Europe in terms of cargo.

In a joint statement, shipper and freight groups evofenedex, Air Cargo Netherlands and Transport and Logistics Netherlands said: “Slots that are released because holiday flights are moved from Schiphol to Lelystad are only made available for flights with a transfer destination.

“These flights carry a considerable amount of cargo in the hold of the aircraft. This increases the air cargo capacity at Schiphol.”

However, there are still challenges ahead: the airport also faces a challenge from local resident groups over flight paths and low-flying routes.

Schiphol has seen freighter volumes decline over the last couple of years partly due to capacity limitations taking their toll on all-cargo operations.

Freighters tended to rely on unused slots that are returned to a central pool at the end of each season, but these have become increasingly scarce as the airport edged towards its capacity limit.

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