Schiphol slot crisis set for Dutch MPs debate on Thursday

Dutch MPs are set to discuss the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport slot crisis later this week, raising air cargo industry hopes of a swift solution.
The Netherlands Parliament will on Thursday discuss the revised ‘local rule’ proposal from Dutch carrier KLM which attempts to resolve the slot allocation problem that has seen some freighter operators switch flights from Schiphol to rival European hubs.
Mid-December 2017 saw Schiphol Airport’s key cargo stakeholders agree the proposed local rule that would ease the slot constraints on freighter flights at Europe’s third largest freight hub.
The local rule would allow the independent slot coordinator to take charge of allocation of slots to carriers and so mitigate the effect of the recent shortage that has led to some cargo operators withdrawing or curtailing their services at Schiphol.
An update from Airport Coordination Netherlands on Monday said: "On December 14,  2017, a majority (weighted) of the members present at the Coordination Committee Netherlands voted for a concept local rule as proposed by KLM-group.
"Now Article 8, 5 of EU Council Regulation 95/93 as amended, has to be applied, meaning that this local rule now has to be approved by the Member State, provided that the proposed rule does not affect the independent status of the coordinator, complies with Community law and aims at improving the efficient use of airport capacity."
It continued: "The Coordination Committee Netherlands met on January 17 2018 to finalise the details of the concept. The status of the concept has not changed. Hence the situation for W17 and S18 remains unchanged."
An official at Dutch shippers’ group EVO said of the meeting last week: "That discussion was held in January with a positive outcome. The fine tuned proposal should now be tested by slot coordination to see if it is workable and the government should need to take steps for swift implementation.
"On Thursday there is a debate on aviation in parliament, which will also focus on the local rule. We will probably know by then the exact timeline and actions to be taken."
An official at industry body Air Cargo Netherlands confirmed the timing of the Parliamentary debate and said of the local rule proposal: "We hope that our minister will approve it shortly after that [debate]." 
Schiphol airport has now confirmed that it saw an increase of 5.4% on yearly tonnage in 2017 with strong demand in the Far East for European goods boosting total figures to 1,752,498 tonnes.
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