Schiphol is currently out of favour with airlines, who are exasperated on two counts.
The airport operator has announced a 14,8% increase in airport charges in 2024, which, it says, is “due to lost income” in 2022.
Airport charges will increase by 14,8% in 2024, higher than the 12% rise that was previously anticipated, placing the airport in bad odour with its clients, the airlines.
Schiphol CFO Robert Carsouw said in a statement: “We've notified the airlines and understand that they're not very pleased. At the same time it's necessary for the quality at Schiphol and for our financial position...”
The airport said the charges that airlines paid to Schiphol were regulated by legislation and used for facilities and services such as runway maintenance, security and cleaning. Inflation is not part of the settlement. “Simply put, Schiphol is not permitted to make any profit from airport charges. If what Schiphol earns in airport charges exceeds the costs incurred from facilitating the airlines, the additional revenue is 'given back' to the airlines,” the airport said in a statement.
Cap on flights
It now appears that the current Dutch caretaker government intends to push through the controversial cap on the number of flights at Amsterdam Schiphol, despite legal challenges from airlines and protests from airline body Iata.
But it is still unclear what the cuts will mean for airlines as they plan their schedules for the next summer season (end March to end October 2024), according to airlineweekly.skift.com.
The cap is to be set at 280 645 aircraft movements, representing a drop of 8% of the movements in the summer of 2019. The Dutch government is ultimately aiming to cut flights by 12% to reduce noise pollution.
8% or 12% – either cut could threaten Amsterdam’s status as one of the most connected hubs in Europe.
The coming general election on November 22 is believed by many to be to blame for the coming capacity cap. The centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy is the champion of the issue and pushing through the Schiphol cap before the election is seen by some as politicking for votes.
KLM is, of course, the worst affected – it operates 55% of all flights at Schiphol. KLM CEO Marjan Rintel has repeatedly called for a “balanced approach” to reduce noise, such as the use of newer, quieter aircraft, changing flight paths and reducing night flights. She has already said that cutting the overall number of movements should be the last resort.
The case by KLM and other airlines is expected to go before the Dutch Supreme Court in December or January, with a decision some time in the first half of next year. KLM and other airlines won their first case against the cap in April, but the Dutch government successfully appealed the ruling in July.
US carrier, JetBlue Airways, which began flights to Schiphol this summer, wants to draw in the US DOT and has even called for retaliation by the US. JetBlue wants the suspension of all KLM services to New York’s JFK airport. As a minimum, JetBlue wants the US DOT to order KLM to give it at least two Schiphol slot pairs for flights next summer.
It’s possible that using larger aircraft with more seats will replace some of the lost seats after the cap kicks in. Air France KLM has 100 new-generation medium-haul aircraft on order and KLM is replacing its 100-seat short-haul equipment with 132-seat Embraers.