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Russian Transport Ministry reports impasse over runway slots in Amsterdam airport resolved

Russia’s Transport Ministry has announced that the dispute over runway slots at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport between Air France KLM’s Dutch airline KLM and Russian freight carrier AirBridgeCargo is over after the two sides reached a settlement.

The deal came to be after negotiations between officials of the two country’s aviation authorities. This could not have come at a better time after Moscow threatened to close Russian air space to Dutch planes if a deal was not confirmed.

“(The agreement) allows the Russian carrier to resume flights to Amsterdam in the full requested volume,” Russia’s transport ministry statement said.

It added, “The sides have yet to agree on a number of technical details of their interaction … But in general, a principled agreement has been reached. Respectively, a permission for KLM flights has been issued until the end of the winter period, and this issue is solved.”

The dispute was sparked by a cut in the number of runway slots made available to AirBridgeCargo at Europe’s third-busiest airport. The number dropped from 23 to 13 slots a week after Schiphol’s half-yearly re-allocation on October 28.

Airport Coordination Netherlands, the organization tasked with allocating slots at Schiphol, explained that AirBridgeCargo’s slots were slashed after it failed to completely utilize them, in accordance with industry rules, and it did not have the authority to add any more because of a cap levied at the airport.

A spokesman for the Russian Transport Ministry said KLM and AirBridgeCargo were in negotiations about KLM sacrificing some of its own slots to reach a compromise arrangement.

But the Dutch Airline Pilots Association indicated that Russia would impose its ban on Dutch planes entering its airspace starting on Saturday. The move would have impacted KLM, the former Dutch national carrier and the only Dutch airline that flies over Russia.



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