The cabinet is working on plans which would give airlines that contribute to expanding Schiphol’s worldwide network priority when slots are being assigned, the Volkskrant said on Wednesday.
The paper says a concept version of a new white paper on aviation aims to ensure that Schiphol’s growth ‘benefits the Dutch economy’ rather than boosts cheap holiday flights to sunny destinations. Currently, Schiphol is not allowed to ‘discriminate’ between airlines but transport minister Cora van Nieuwehuizen is looking to introduce local rules which would allow the slot coordinator to prioritise airlines with wide networks. This, in practice, would mean KLM and its partners, the Volkskrant said.
Steven van der Heijden, chief executive of Dutch tour operator Corendon, said the new rules, if they came into effect, would seriously disadvantage charter airlines. ‘And it remains to be seen if it is allowed,’ he told the paper. ‘It would impact on the free market.
And delays to the opening of Lelystad airport… mean it is not an alternative.’
In addition, the cabinet aims to limit the growth in the aviation industry based on safety, noise pollution and air pollution limits which will not be changed ‘unless our international accessibility is under threat’ or there is a shift in the balance between the economy and environment.
The minister also wants to stimulate train travel on journeys of up to 800 kilometres, using the freed-up slots to expand the international network instead. The concept document also dismisses calls for more research on the option of moving Schiphol airport to an artificial island in the North Sea.