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Netherlands: IATA claims airport prices hikes will damage recovery

The International Air Transport Association has warned that a proposed 37% increase in airport charges in the Netherlands risks significant damage to the recovery of air connectivity in the country.

Following a formal review in which IATA and several airlines participated, the regulator for airport charges at Schiphol, ACM, released a decision on 21 April which accepted the airport’s position that due to losses incurred during the Covid-19 shutdown, it must raise airport charges by a cumulative 37% over the next three years.

Air travel has still not recovered from Covid-19, the greatest shock in aviation history. The impacts in the Netherlands were acute: at its height, Covid-19 caused passenger numbers to fall by more than 70%, at a cost of around 200,000 aviation-supported jobs. A gradual recovery is underway, but the foundations are weak.

IATA represents
290 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.

IATA’s Connectivity Index shows the Netherlands is still 35% below its 2019 peak. At this crucial time, for the benefit of the Netherlands as a whole, air connectivity should be supported. Unfortunately, ACM’s decision puts the country’s position as one of the most competitive European air transport hubs at risk.

The Dutch regulator’s stance is in sharp contrast with the position taken by other independent regulators in the region, which are trying to fulfil their duties to protect the consumer.

In Spain, the regulator rejected the claims from the airport operator that it needed to recover its pandemic losses. The Spanish regulator calculated that the airport operator had sufficient cash reserves to cover the shortfall and that it would benefit from growing traffic in coming years – and it has frozen charges for the next three years.

Schiphol is in a similar situation, and the regulator should be similarly robust.  Pre-pandemic, Schiphol declared €742 million of dividends over the 2015-19 period, and it has several options to cover its losses. Schiphol can easily finance short-term losses without increasing costs to its customers.

Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional VP for Europe said

Rafael Schvartzman: ‘Schiphol airport and its regulator have failed’.

Schiphol airport and its regulator have completely failed to consider the exceptional circumstances that were created by Covid-19. The cost recovery system was never expected to operate in circumstances where demand would totally collapse for an extended period due to government- imposed travel restrictions. It cannot be reasonable to dump a 37% increase on airlines and their passengers. Nor is it sensible to put such costs onto air transport in the Netherlands at a time when other cost pressures, including rising environmental taxes, are already damaging the competitive position of Dutch aviation.

IATA is considering an appeal of the decision.

ACI and IATA outline roadmap for aviation industry restart

Airports Council International (ACI) World and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have called on governments to ensure any new measures introduced for airports and airlines in the wake of Covid-19 are supported by scientific evidence and are consistent across the world.

IATA General Secretary Alexandre de Juniac: “restoring air connectivity is vital to restarting the global economy”

ACI and IATA have jointly issued a paper laying out a pathway for restarting the aviation industry – Safely Restarting Aviation – ACI and IATA Joint Approach. Airlines and airports have co-operated to build a roadmap for resuming operations which reassures the travelling public that health and safety remain the overall priorities.

The joint approach proposes a layered approach of measures across the entire passenger journey to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid-19 at airports and onboard aircraft, and to prevent aviation becoming a meaningful source of international re-infection.

ACI and IATA are both central members the Covid-19 Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) being led by the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). CART enables the collaboration – among governments and between governments and industry -that is vital to ensure the harmonisation and consistency of measures that are essential to restoring air connectivity and passenger confidence in air travel.

ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said

Angela Gittens, ACI Director General: “the biggest challenge ever faced by commercial aviation”

Airports and airlines have come together with ICAO and the wider aviation industry to address the biggest challenge ever faced by commercial aviation in restarting a global industry while continuing to halt the spread of Covid-19. There is currently no single measure that could mitigate all the risks of restarting air travel but we believe a globally-consistent, outcome-based approach represents the most effective way of balancing risk mitigation with the need to unlock economies and to enable travel.

IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said

Safety is always our top priority and that includes public health. Restoring air connectivity is vital to restarting the global economy and reconnecting people. Our layered approach of measures recommended by airports and airlines safeguards public health while offering a practical approach for a gradual restart of operations. It is important to remember that the risk of transmission on board is very low. And we are determined that aviation will not be a significant source of re-infection. We are working continuously with governments to ensure that any measures put in place are done so consistently and with scientific backing. That is key to restoring public confidence so the benefits of safely re-starting aviation can be realised.

Can I be sure my business trip will take place?

At GTM, we know how critical clients’ meetings are. But carefully planned business trips can be at risk if suppliers fail to meet their obligations.

As well as the terrible job losses, the news of Thomas Cook’s demise in September 2019 and that of Monarch Airlines in October 2017 caused huge problems for holiday makers and unprecedented peace-time repatriation efforts.

Disruption to holiday plans is upsetting and unsettling. But if business travel plans are compromised, even more could be at stake.

So, at GTM, we make sure we offer our clients the greatest levels of protection and confidence possible. To back up the professional service all clients receive from our experienced business travel consultants, we benefit from membership and accreditation from a number of professional travel organisations.

GTM is accredited by IATA The International Air Trade Association comprises 290 airlines, representing 117 countries. IATA accreditation is the industry’s “seal of approval” and is recognised worldwide. You can find out more about IATA here https://www.iata.org

GTM is a member of ABTA ABTA, The Travel Association (formerly, the Association of British Travel Agents) maintains a Code of Conduct for its members, so that our clients benefit from accurate information; advice on passport, visa and health requirements; an offer of alternative accommodation in the case of building works. You can find out more about ABTA here https://www.abta.com/

GTM holds an ATOL licence The Air Travel Operators’ Licence is the independent specialist aviation regulatory arm of the Civil Aviation Authority. The ATOL scheme ensures its members are financially sound and that clients are protected in case of company failure. You can find out more about ATOL here https://www.caa.co.uk/Our-work/About-us/Our-role/

GTM is part of the Advantage Travel Partnership The Advantage Travel Partnership is the United Kingdom’s largest independent travel agency partnership, solely owned by its members. You can find out more about the Advantage Travel Partnershp here https://www.advantagemembers.com/

GTM is a member of the WIN Global Travel Network The WIN Global Travel Network is a connected group of travel management companies employing more than 30,000 people in 75 countries, providing round-the-clock support and ensuring service excellence. You can find out more about the WIN Global Travel Network here https://wintravel.org/

The diligent professionalism with which our staff carry out travel management for our clients is enhanced and backed-up by our long association with these travel organisations. So, if any business trip is let down by a supplier being unable to carry out its commitments, GTM is perfectly placed to ensure that others can step in and save the day.

IATA Accreditation – what does it mean?

Since Global Travel Management was founded twenty years ago, we have been proud to be an accredited member of IATA.  But what is IATA and what does GTM’s accreditation mean for our clients?
IATA is the International Air Transport Association representing the world’s airline industry.  At the latest count, there are 274 airline members of IATA, from Adria Airways in Slovenia to Xiamen Airlines in China. These airlines carry more than three billion passengers and more than fifty billion tonnes of freight per year.

IATA provides an international perspective for airlines, maintaining relationships with governments and industry stakeholders around the world and helping airline members on key industry priorities such as safety, security and environmental impact.  And IATA works with the industry to ensure airlines’ operational overheads are minimised, for example, by making use of the industry-wide settlement process, known as the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP).

As an accredited member of IATA, GTM can access inventory and sell tickets on domestic and international flights.  We are also able to make use of the industry’s cost-reducing systems – like BSP – and, by doing so, reduce the cost of buying and paying for airline tickets around the world.

Accreditation with IATA is yet another way in which GTM ensures best practice and delivers cost efficiencies to all clients.