‘Schiphol’s airfreight position is worrying’

    Schiphol airport’s position as an airfreight hub is under pressure. Cargo companies are choosing other airports. “It’s not ideal, but the Netherlands will continue to have a leading role as a hub in the international flower trade”, expects Rogier Spoel, policy officer air and sea cargo with evofenedex.

    Schiphol is an important hub for the international flower trade. Not just for flowers that are traded via Royal FloraHolland, but also for flowers that are sold directly to other countries from Africa and South America. In recent years however, Schiphol’s position within the airfreight sector has been under a lot of pressure. More and more of the planes that transport flowers don’t touch down in Amsterdam anymore, but in Liège, Maastricht or Luxembourg instead. Or Oostende or Frankfurt.

    Rogier Spoel: “That’s worrying. Flowers are now transferred onto lorries at those airports and driven to Schiphol. As a result, transport takes half a day longer, and the produce doesn’t arrive as fresh.

    Are 500,000 slots enough for Schiphol in the long term?

    “The recent drop in demand restored the balance between supply and demand. But if demand goes back up, the current capacity will no longer be sufficient, and we’ll be facing slot shortages again. The European Commission will probably reimpose the slot regulations again from March 2021. If there’s no room for more airfreight at Schiphol, Lelystad might have to play a bigger role. Moving certain flights to this airport would create space for cargo planes at Schiphol.”

    Is the shipment of Covid-19 vaccines going to be the next challenge?

    “The Pfizer vaccine needs to be transported at a temperature of -70°C, which can only be done by airfreight. So, it could put lots of pressure on the availability of cargo planes. We’re currently trying to work out the best way to distribute the vaccine, together with KLM, Air Cargo Netherlands and Schiphol. But we remain vigilant in watching how this is going to impact the airfreight capacity in 2021.” (..)

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