Cheaper flights likely at Schiphol; deals cut with Middle East airlines

In the coming months the European Commission will negotiate with airlines from Southeast Asia and the Middle East to give them more landing rights in Europe, the European Transport Ministers decided. In return, countries like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar has to stop giving state aid to their airlines, NOS reports.

This means that there may soon be cheaper flights at Schiphol airport, due to the added competition.

Unions vehemently opposed this plan, fearing that the arrival of these new companies will lead to job losses. A week ago hundreds of employees at 34 major airports across Europe, including Schiphol, performed coordinated marches against the plan. Last weekend a number of major airlines, including Air France-KLM and Lufthansa, and many unions sent a letter to the Netherlands as EU president to demand fair competition.

Their main concern is that airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways can offer very cheap tickets, because they are publicly owned and receive state aid.

But Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen of Infrastructure and Environment, which includes Transport, is not too concerned about that. "It's about opening the market based on fair and transparent terms", she said after meeting with the other European Transport Ministers in Luxembourg.


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