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NMa: no signs that Amsterdam airport Schiphol abused its dominant position

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has found no signs that Amsterdam airport Schiphol has abused its dominant position as an airport by influencing national planning and zoning decisions and processes. A complaint claiming such abuse, filed with the NMa by land developer Chipshol, has been turned down after a detailed investigation.

Chipshol claims that Amsterdam airport Schiphol through its subsidiary Schiphol Real Estate systematically succeeded in preventing Chipshol from developing its land. One piece of land in particular is the Groenenberg area, which Chipshol is the owner of. Schiphol allegedly influenced local and national governments improperly. As a result of Schiphol’s alleged actions, Chipshol claims to be excluded from the aviation-related real estate market.

According to Chipshol, Schiphol wrongfully managed to prevent the Groenenberg area from being developed. Schiphol, on the other hand, claims that aviation safety would have been jeopardized if the Groenenberg area had been developed. Furthermore, the land that had already been reserved for an additional runway would be needed to accommodate further expansion of the airport. However, Chipshol claims that Schiphol’s sole intention was to hinder competition on the aviation-related real estate market.

The NMa has determined that Schiphol had indeed taken steps to prevent Chipshol from developing the Groenenberg area. In addition, Schiphol did try to keep the land reserved for the additional runway intact and undeveloped. Having conducted a detailed investigation, the NMa, however, did not find any concrete signs that Schiphol’s actions were solely meant to frustrate Chipshol as a competitor on the aviation-related real estate market.

On January 1, 2013, the NMa will merge with the Netherlands Consumer Authority and the Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority of the Netherlands (OPTA), creating a new authority: The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). This new authority aims to ensure that markets work in order to protect consumer interests. To this end, the ACM will focus on three main themes: consumer protection, industry-specific regulation, and competition oversight.