Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport has done too much to attract budget airlines and this is damaging both KLM and the Dutch economy, KLM chief executive Pieter Elbers says in the AD.
KLM has until now accepted the maximum number of aircraft movements agreed in 2008 but that total has been almost reached.
The deal says that up to 500,000 aircraft movements a year are acceptable but last year the airport processed 479,000 take-offs and landings. ‘If Schiphol cannot grow further, we will have a problem,’ Elbers said. ‘We are investing in new flights and destinations but we face being squeezed.’
KLM carried 6% more passengers last year but similar growth will be impossible in 2017 without breaking the agreed maximum. ‘Accessibility is crucial. The Netherlands benefits from companies like KLM,’ Elbers said.
A spokesman for Schiphol told the AD that the airport is subject to EU rules when it comes to determining which airlines can use its facilities. ‘There is a free market within the EU,’ he said. And landing rights for non-EU airlines are traded by the government, not Schiphol, he said.
Elbers accused Schiphol of being too generous with bonuses and discounts to attract new airlines such as Easyjet, Ryanair and Gulf state companies.
He now wants new discussions with locals and the government about allowing more flights at Schiphol. Junior transport minister Sharon Dijksma has already said the current ceiling is ‘not sacrosanct,’ the AD said.