Cabinet cuts capacity at Schiphol, ACN cargo sector now demands cargo pool

Infrastructure and Water Management Minister Mark Harbers announced last Friday that the government wants to reduce the number of flight movements at Schiphol by 60,000 to a total of 440,000 flight movements as of November 2023.

According to Maarten van As, director of the ACN flight umbrella organization, this means there will be no more slots left for cargo flights. After long negotiations, an agreement was finally reached for the cargo sector called rule 2. This would ensure that many unused flight movements at Schiphol would be allocated to the cargo sector. However, with the scrapping of 80,000 flights, there are no slots left and rule 2 has no use at all according to Van As. He therefore wants a freight pool as an alternative. He wants 20,000 flights to be reserved exclusively for the cargo sector. On a yearly basis this would be 4.5% of all 440.000 flights at Schiphol.

Van As says he has been talking to the government for years about a freight pool at Schiphol so that the freight sector is provided with sufficient flights. But according to the government and the state attorney this is not possible due to rules of the European Commission.

Van As can understand the content of Minister Harbers’ decision. Although the decision was taken without any form of consultation with interest groups involved at Schiphol. “This decision thwarts the ongoing consultations between the various parties at the airport about the network quality of Schiphol, the CO2 ceiling and the talks about reducing the number of night flights. That is now being thwarted as well.”

The ACN says it has been declining for years due to the arrival of budget flights. And that this is increasingly undermining the airport’s European cargo position. Before the start of the Corona pandemic, the cargo flight percentage was already below 3%, fortunately this still accounted for 25% of Schiphol’s added value.