KLM to appeal Schiphol price hike decision
25 / 04 / 2022
By Damian Brett
KLM will lodge an objection with the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) over Schiphol’s plans to hike airline rates.
The airline will lodge the appeal against Schiphol’s plans to increase dues by 9% next year, 12% in 2023 and 12% in 2024 as it the airport seeks to offset losses occurred as a result of the Covid-pandemic.
The move comes as KLM, KLM Cityhopper, Transavia, Martinair and Air France, along with cargo and airline trade bodies, last week had an appeal over the increases rejected by Dutch consumer protection body Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM).
KLM said it was “extremely disappointed” that the ACM has chosen to “disregard almost all of the airlines’ objections” and has missed an opportunity to “further supplement the reasonableness of the Aviation Act, which could have resulted in a proportionate distribution of the pain of the Covid crisis”.
“In the opinion of KLM, this is an extremely strict interpretation of the Aviation Act and an interpretation of the settlement mechanism that ignores its original purpose,” the airline said.
“The ACM does not protect the users against excessive charges by the monopolist Schiphol (the original purpose of the Aviation Act), but instead shifts all of the monopolists’ business risks that have arisen during the Covid period, on to the airlines. There is no alternative airport infrastructure of this scale in the Netherlands. Airlines are therefore forced to purchase their services from Schiphol.”
The ACM had reasoned that Schiphol is required to settle excess profits with airlines but the opposite is true if it makes a loss.
The authority said that if Schiphol were to bear those costs itself, they would ultimately be borne by the taxpayer because the Dutch State and the municipality of Amsterdam are Schiphol’s largest shareholders.
Air Cargo Netherlands, which last year objected to Schiphol’s plans, said: “This is a major disappointment for airport users. We do not think it is right that Schiphol is putting the pain of the corona crisis on the airlines with these draconian rate increases.
“We are currently considering with the parties involved whether and how this case can be presented to the court.”
The Royal Schiphol Group, which also operates Eindhoven and the Hague airports, registered a profit of €103.7m last year, following on from a loss of €423.6m in 2020.