It sounds almost unbelievable- fake news, real issues, blackmail, false press statements by Tass, MH370, Air Bridge Cargo, KLM, Schiphols local politics and mysterious votes in Schiphol Ailrine Council meetings…
Of course things only ever get weirded like this when Russia is involved. Geopolitics has rammed its way into what should be a simple landing slot reallocation issue.
Schiphol has passed its annually agreed landings limit. To cut back and get under the target cargo carriers – many of whom are classed as ‘ad-hoc’ and operate one-off operations irregularly, bore the loss of landing slots. Russia’s Air Bridge Cargo lost all of its slots under various IATA and ICAO agreed principles – except neither of them had anything to do with it and said so. It’s actually European rules that determine what happens.
Russia was fuming that one of its main Cargo airlines (ABC is a little bit mysterious if you look into too hard), was basically being banned from Schipol for not using all of its slots.
Now enter the MH370 disaster and the fact that Russia doesn’t want anyone looking into it any further. However the new Dutch government has sworn to do whatever it takes to find the perpetrators and jail them.
Russia steps up the ante and threatens KLM whom it blames for taking the slots away, not really understanding how Schipol is governed, and says it will ban KLM from Russian airspace from November 4th.
The Airline Council meets at Schipol to vote on what to do, should they give back any slots? ABC says it will fully utilise all of its allocation. The vote was to consider giving them some, but not with threats pending. The vote happened but didn’t pass because KLM abstained. They didn’t want to be seen offending Russia and making things worse, but didn’t want to be seen giving in either.
The Dutch announce a five country pact to bring the MH370 perpetrators to justice. Russia is fuming again, but gives state press agency Tass a statement saying KLM has agreed to give ABC it its own slots from KLM’s allocation.
The official announcement takes KLM and the now very angry Airport Council and Dutch Government by surprise. But it’s fake news, deliberately designed to sow discord, and KLM is adamant it’s doing no such thing.
Meanwhile KLM hasn’t been banned from Russia, ABC is only flying to Schipol ad-hoc and will loose its slots Sunday 5th Nov.
The new Dutch minister in charge of aviation said she wants to resolve the issue, mostly through lifting the slot limit for the year, but now Russia’s bullying tactics makes everyone feel like they don’t want to give in, and the wider MH370 issue has clouded things further. And then the local authorities where Schipol sits, said they’re not keen on the slot limit being lifted as it was designed to protect locals from noise and pollution….the saga continues