Pressure at Schiphol threatens flower imports20 September 2017
Schiphol Airport is full and cannot expand any further. That is unfortunate news for the economic development of the Netherlands. And for the import of flowers.
"We benefit greatly from the import of many roses and other products from around the world. If these products no longer come to us, we shall not have the widest and deepest assortment in the world. That will make us less attractive as a marketplace," explained Edwin Wenink (New Logistic Chain, Royal FloraHolland) in the news programme NOS Journaal.
Increase in holiday flights
The pressure at Schiphol is primarily due to an increase in the number of holiday flights. The lack of possibilities for expanding and the strict compliance with landing slot agreements are disadvantageous for freight transport.
On 7 September 2017 a hearing was organised in the Lower Chamber of Parliament that involved all interested parties:
- Dutch Airline Pilots Association
- Other parties
Today, another discussion is being held in the Lower Chamber on this topic.
What are landing slots?
To land and to take off, each flight needs a right: a 'slot'. Each quarter, Schiphol sets the maximum slot capacity. Companies must fly using at least 80% of the assigned slots to comply properly. If they do not, then they lose the unused slots. This happens regularly with freight transport that cannot take off as promptly as holiday flights. The unused slots are returned to the pool and assigned to the first company on the waiting list.
Freight capacity at Schiphol
So far, there have always been enough slots available to accommodate everyone on the waiting list. With the growth in the number of flights at Schiphol, this is no longer the case. Freight planes that are forced to relinquish their slots will probably not get them back. These rights are transferred to the passenger flights. If the rules governing the distribution of slots are not changed, then the freight capacity in the fourth quarter of 2017 will shrink by 15%.
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