EasyJet ‘surprise’ at exclusion from Schiphol talks

EasyJet has expressed astonishment at its exclusion from discussions on expansion at Amsterdam Schiphol despite operating 18 routes from the airport.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “I’ve never come across anything like it.”

Schiphol is state-owned and the government set up a commission last week to resolve a lengthy dispute between KLM and the airport about plans for expansion.

KLM, which controls 70% of capacity at Schiphol, does have a place on the commission, along with a member of the airport’s supervisory board, a former minister and former senior civil servant.

McCall told the Dutch Financieele Dagblad (Financial Journal) she was “really surprised” KLM is the only airline involved.

The commission will make recommendations on future use of capacity, including what sort of flights are given priority at Schiphol.

It is expected to recommend budget airlines move out, most likely to Lelystad which is earmarked for expansion to handle no-frills carriers and charters.

Lelystad airport is about 26 miles from Amsterdam when Schiphol is minutes from the city centre, has superb rail connections and a comprehensive long-haul network.

EasyJet rightly fears moving would discourage corporate travellers and leisure passengers looking to connect with long-haul flights.

McCall said: “The government is only allowing one interested party to talk about the future of its airport.”

EasyJet operates to Schiphol from Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Manchester, Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Southend, and will begin flights from Newcastle in October.

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