Low cost airline Level to fly from Schiphol, angering Green party

Schiphol airport, 29 Sept 2018
Schiphol airport, 29 Sept 2018Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

Airline Level, a low-cost sister of British Airways, is opening a base at Schiphol in early April. The airline will offer cheap flights to destinations like London, Rome and Vienna. GroenLinks parliamentarian Suzanne Kroger is baffled by this decision, given that all Level destinations are already offered by other airlines flying from Schiphol, AD reports.

Level will fly to London twice a day, with ticket prices starting from 20 euros. Tickets to Rome and Vienna are available from 28 euros. The airline will also offer flights to Lisbon and Fuerteventura from June, and to Barcelona and Milan from August. Three other airlines fly to Barcelona and Milan from Schiphol, four to Vienna and Fuerteventura, and five to Rome and Lisbon, according to the newspaper. 

Level's arrival is "indicative of everything that is wrong in Dutch aviation", GroenLinks MP Kroger said to AD. "The Minister says she cannot influence the destination choices. So we will be flying to London for 20 euros, a place that can easily be reached by train." She added: "This only means that it will soon be said that it is inevitable that Schiphol grows. If you acknowledge that there is a lack of space, the government must have opportunities to intervene, so that the scarcity can be better tackled, for local residents, the environment and the economy.

Schiphol and the independent slot coordinator can not intervene in airlines choice of destinations, according to the newspaper. Over the past years this led to the airport quickly filling up with flights from budget airlines that do not contribute to Schiphol's network. Last month Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure told parliament that European rules ban the intervention in destinations. "Because I believe that the government should be given more opportunities to stimulate flights that strengthen Schiphol's network, I want to create additional options for future management", she said. She is considering a new rule in which the slot coordinator takes Schiphol's network into account if newcomers want to start flying to existing destinations.