The transport ministry is to investigate the cost of flying from Schiphol airport because of ‘serious concerns’ about the airport’s declining competitive position on the international market.
Transport minister Camiel Eurlings told MPs on Thursday evening that the research group would come up with recommendations within two months.
Scrapping the controversial flight tax introduced last July could not be ruled out, Eurlings said.
That tax – €11.25 on short-haul and €45 on long-haul flights – has been blamed by the airport authority and airlines for making Schiphol less popular.
Last year it emerged that the number of Dutch people traveling via Germany’s Weeze airport just over the border by Arnhem had gone up 300%.
The ministry’s investigation will focus on the costs of security, air traffic control and other elements which add to the cost of flying, Eurlings said.
Only London’s Heathrow airport is more expensive that Schiphol to fly from, the minister said.
The number of passengers using Schiphol fell 9.4% in December but the number of transit passengers – who do not have to pay the flight tax – remained unchanged. ‘The situation is extremely serious,’ the Volkskrant quoted Eurlings as saying.
Last year MPs agreed with a new growth plan for Schiphol, which envisages it handling 589,000 aircraft movements by 2020 – over 150,000 more than it does now. This involves shifting some 70,000 charter and budget airline flights to regional airports.