The complaints that the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has received about the new airport charges of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol do not constitute a need for suspending the commencement date of those new charges. With this suspension decision, ACM does not prejudge the complaints: it merely means that the new charges can come into effect on April 1, 2022, should the substantive handling of the complaints not have been completed by that date.
ACM has received seven complaints from airlines and associations of airport users regarding the charges and conditions that Schiphol has set for the period of April 1, 2022 until April 1, 2025. Schiphol has decided to settle the losses incurred in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with the airport charges for that upcoming period. The complainants argue that, in those new charges, the costs of the pandemic are not distributed fairly between the airport and the airlines.
Why did ACM issue a suspension decision?
ACM will, in principle, hand down a decision regarding said complaints no later than 24 March 2022, but it can extend this deadline by two months. Such an extension would be after the planned commencement date of April 1, 2022, which is why ACM must determine what will happen with the charges in this period by issuing a suspension decision. ACM can decide that some charges will not come into effect yet, but only if it becomes apparent from the complaints that suspension is necessary.
Losses resulting from COVID-19 pandemic not settled until 2023 and 2024
ACM has come to the conclusion that the complaints did not reveal any need for suspension, as Schiphol does not settle the losses incurred in 2020 as a result of the pandemic until 2023 and 2024, so not yet in 2022. The charges that come into effect on April 1, 2022, have indeed been raised, but that is because fewer passengers are expected than in the previous years (the charges are per passenger and aircraft, over which the total projected costs are spread out).
As a result of this suspension decision, the new airport charges can come into effect on April 1, 2022, unless, prior to that, ACM issues a decision regarding the complaints, in which it concludes that the charges and conditions are in violation of the law. In that case, Schiphol will have to set new charges and conditions, which would apply (retroactively) from April 1, 2022.
21-01-2022 Suspension decision regarding the airport charges of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as of 1 April 2022 (in Dutch)