Vital year for Amsterdam in 2006

SYDNEY (Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation) - 2006 will be an important year for Dutch aviation, as the Aviation Act will be evaluated (from Apr-06) and privatisation plans for the Schiphol Group are expected to be finalised.

Schiphol Group CEO, Gerlach Cerfontaine, stated it is “essential” to become a listed company to operate successfully in a global aviation sector undergoing further consolidation. According to Mr Cerfontaine, “we must therefore have access to the same financial options as our immediate competitors who are privatised and are listed companies, or are due to become listed companies in the near future".

During 2005, Macquarie Airports completed its offer for nearby Copenhagen Airports (increasing its shareholding to 52.4%). Copenhagen outperformed Amsterdam in terms of traffic growth, handling almost 20 million passengers in 2005, up 5%.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol handled 44 million passengers in 2005, up 3.8% year-on-year, helping it retain its position as Europe's fourth-largest passenger airport and third-largest cargo airport. Schiphol Group anticipates passenger volume at the airport to grow by over 4% to 46 million passengers in 2006.

But the Government’s new environmental standards could threaten long term activity. Mr Cerfontaine said, Amsterdam “should at least be able to keep pace with its European competitors” – specifically, the current runway system should be able to accommodate around 600,000 annual air transport movements in the long term, and still comply with the standards.

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