August 19, 2008

British Budget Airline Files Complaint Against Amsterdam Airport

British budget airline files complaint against Amsterdam airport

BRUSSELS, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- British budget airline easyJet is filing a complaint with the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) against Schiphol Airport in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, Dutch paper De Volkskrant reported Thursday.

EasyJet said Wednesday that the "excessive price increases" that the Dutch airport plans to introduce in November is a discrimination against passengers who travel from the airport.

EasyJet, which holds a six-percent market share, is the second largest airline operating at Schiphol.

The Amsterdam airport plans to increase the security surcharge by 61 percent to 17.47 euros (26 US dollars) as of November 1, while the passenger surcharge will also rise by 13 percent to 13.46 euros (20 dollars).

EasyJet Operations Director Cor Vrieswijk said in a press release that the increases are "too ridiculous for words." He said that Schiphol, already the most expensive airport in Europe, is pricing itself out of the market.

From November 1, passengers departing from Schiphol Airport will have to pay about 50 euros (74.5 dollars) for taxes and surcharges on average, compared with the average 25 euros (37.25 dollars) for passengers departing from another country.

"Dutch passengers are being seriously swindled," Vrieswijk was quoted as saying.

EasyJet considered the surcharges a violation of European competition rules. "If the NMa refuses to handle the case, we will take it to the European Commission," said Vrieswijk.

But Schiphol seemed to be not concerned about the complaint by easyJet.

"Our tariff structure has been approved by the NMa. We have recently informed the airlines about the changes to the fees; they had until June 27 to object. Nobody objected," an airport spokesperson said.

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