Dutch tourists banished to regional airport

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Dutch holiday-goers bound for commercial destinations will have to travel in and out of regional airports in the near future, following yesterday’s announcement by Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport that it intends to focus on business traffic.

Charter airlines like Transavia KLM’s own charter subsidiary, Arkefly and Corendon will be actively encouraged to move to smaller airports in Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Twente in the east of the country and the northern Groningen.

At a meeting of the Dutch Aviation Group on Monday, Schiphol chief Jos Nijhuis said that Schiphol would prefer not to have holiday traffic because “it has less value for us”. Mr Nijhuis emphasised the need for Amsterdam to profile itself as a ‘Global City Region’ and argued that the new Schiphol strategy would be crucial to its success. Deputy Infrastructure and Environment Minister Joop Atsma confirmed that Schiphol’s strategy is in line with the government´s vision for more exploitation of regional airports by tourist traffic.

KLM had earlier disclosed that growth plans for Transavia in 2011 will be centred in Eindhoven and Rotterdam and that there was little scope for expansion in Amsterdam. But while charter traffic is to be reduced at Schiphol, Mr Nijhuis envisaged a 50 percent growth in passenger volume before 2025.  

British low-cost no frills airline EasyJet, which has been trying for years to increase its traffic in and out of Amsterdam, is angry with Schiphol and says it is discriminated against. EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall has called on travellers from within the urban conglomeration of the Randstad Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam to go out and protest. “I don’t understand why travellers in the Randstad stand for it that they’ll have to travel long distances to avail of cheaper flights,” she said.



© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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