KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) and Amsterdam airport Schiphol have so far complied with the commitments about no longer having any contact with each other about growth opportunities of other airlines at Schiphol. With this commitment, a situation is prevented where KLM might have an advantage over competitors when using facilities at Schiphol. This has been revealed by a follow-up check by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) on the compliance with the commitments made by KLM and Schiphol in 2018.
Based on this first periodic follow-up check, ACM is positive about KLM’s and Schiphol’s compliance with the commitments. For example, it turns out that much attention is given to educating members of staff about how they can comply with these commitments. KLM and Schiphol have implemented a procedure on how to report joint meetings properly. In addition, other airlines say Schiphol has adopted a more open attitude. ACM has established that, as a result of the commitments, the anticompetitive risks have thus been reduced.
However, ACM does see room for improvement in the practical, day-to-day implementation of the commitments, such as with regard to the consistency of the reporting, and the transparency vis-à-vis other airlines. ACM has informed both KLM and Schiphol about these issues. Within the next two years, ACM will perform a another check-up on compliance with the commitments. The commitments are in effect for five years (2023).
What was the problem?
KLM and the other members of the SkyTeam airline alliance operate the majority of flights at Schiphol. As a consequence, KLM and Schiphol frequently contact each other about the utilization of airport capacity.
A 2017 investigation conducted by ACM revealed that KLM and Schiphol also discussed that KLM and its partners should operate approximately 70 percent of all flights, and the other airlines approximately 30 percent. KLM and Schiphol discussed Schiphol’s plans. Such interactions created the risk that Schiphol would not set its strategy independently, but would change it to accommodate KLM’s wishes. In this way, the growth opportunities of other airlines may have been frustrated.
In 2018, KLM and Schiphol made concrete commitments to ACM about no longer having any contact with each other about the growth opportunities of other airlines. Schiphol would develop its own plans for investments, airport charges, and marketing strategy. The commitments help create a level playing field for airlines at Schiphol. And passengers will benefit in terms of more competitive prices and higher quality.