Business Travel Tech Talk London, 16 October,
Business Travel Awards Europe, 30 October, JW
3rd Annual Business Travel Intelligence Summit
Airport operator blames air passenger tax
The Schiphol Group has reported a 46.6% drop in its 2008 aviation sector operating result year-on-year, its annual report said today (April 17).
The Group, which operates Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, reported an operating result of €51m, almost half 2007's figure of €95m.
EBITDA, an industry measure of earnings, also fell sharply by 21.4%, due in part to a "substantial loss" in passenger numbers.
The Group's overall profit, including its consumer, property and alliances and partnership business areas, stood at €187m, down 40.8% from €316m in 2007.
The Group blamed the Dutch air passenger tax which came into effect in July for a fall in traffic in the second half of 2008.
"As passengers and cargo are our principal business drivers, we opposed the introduction of the Air Passenger Tax from the outset," the Group said.
"However our protests, along with those of other sector parties, were of no avail.
The tax, unpopular with carriers using Schiphol, levied an €11.25 per segment charge on passengers for destinations within Europe. Long haul passengers paid €45.
"As a result of both the new tax and the economic crisis that became increasingly apparent after the summer, the growth in passenger numbers realised during the first half of the year evaporated," said the Group.
"Obviously, a portion of this drop must be attributed to the economic recession. However, in view of the rise in passenger traffic departing from regional airports in Germany and Belgium and from our own airport up to July 1, this drop is primarily the result of the introduction of the air passenger tax."
Low cost airline easyJet claimed the tax spelt doom for Schiphol and accused the Netherland's main airport of "protectionism".
But last month the Dutch government scrapped the unpopular tax, a move welcomed by both easyJet and Ryanair.