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January 2010

Minister of Transport Speech at BARIN NewYearGathering 2010

By | Points of view

BARIN New Year’s Gathering
Toespraak | 15-01-2010 | Schiphol | Minister Camiel Eurlings

Alleen de uitgesproken tekst geldt.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to see all of you here today for this New Year’s Gathering of BARIN at Schiphol Airport. I would like to wish all of you an exceptionally good new year. A year of happiness at home. A year of pleasure and success at work. And particularly a year with a “tail wind”, after the difficult times of 2009.

No one can look into the future. But if the signs are not deceiving us, 2010 could bring us a cautious recovery. I know how much you have been looking forward to such a recovery!

Having and keeping a healthy airline in the air requires quite an effort. Competition is fierce, the customers are critical, the rules are strict and the ambitions are high. Under these circumstances, an economic crisis is never welcome. I greatly admire the “fighting spirit” with which you have fought back!

Working with you, I focus every day on ensuring the aviation industry is strong. Good air connections are absolutely essential for the Netherlands. Your businesses have helped to make the Netherlands a European and global “hub” of significance.

That is why I am very happy about an organization such as BARIN. You give a voice to the interests of the airlines. This is vitally important. You keep us on our toes, for sure. But you do much more than that. You also work with me, with Schiphol and with other partners to find concrete solutions.

There are many subjects that required our attention in 2009 and that will be high on the agenda again this year. I would like briefly to say something about three of them:
· a competitive cost level;
· security;
· passenger rights.

Lowering costs

The first item is lowering the costs of flying at Schiphol. You are right in repeatedly drawing attention to this. I take these signals from you very, very serious.

Last year we decided to abolish the air passenger tax on air tickets. The cabinet attached the condition to this decision that Schiphol Airport would also cut its costs. Schiphol decided, as of 1 April, not to increase the airport charges this year. Schiphol is also working hard on improving the efficiency of operations, something that can bring down costs in the end.

In consultation with my Ministry, Air Traffic Control the Netherlands will also take cost-reducing measures and freeze its rates for five years. The Transport and Water Management Inspectorate will not raise its aviation rates for 2010 either. These are concrete actions taken to make Schiphol Airport and aviation in the Netherlands more competitive.

Schiphol must remain attractive. That is an absolute priority.

I keep a sharp eye on developments. I want to have a very solid picture of where we stand. Recently I had a benchmark analysis carried out into the level of costs at Schiphol, as compared with its large European competitors. The most important conclusion was that Schiphol has improved its position.

In 2008 it was the second most expensive airport after Heathrow. In 2009 Schiphol passed three of its competitors in the respect (Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, and Gatwick). It is a result that gives us confidence in the future!

I am monitoring everything very closely. Your findings are vitally important to me in this effort.

Security

As you know, we are also taking a close look at costs in the area of security. This is something we take great care with, as you can understand.

The incident that occurred on Christmas Day on Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit forces us to look at the hard facts once again. Security requires continual vigilance.

I oppose the picture painted of Schiphol by some of the media.
I am absolutely convinced that Schiphol takes security very seriously. Security measures are carried out with precision according to the national and international rules. It is done well. Regular and detailed inspections by ICAO, the EU and the American Transportation Security Administration confirm this view.

Let us also not forget that in 2006 Schiphol was the first airport in Europe to start experiments using the security scan. Schiphol leads the way with respect to new developments.

One hundred per cent “security” does not exist, of course. But we can ensure that we continue to meet the highest international requirements in this regard. This is an essential part of a mainport that sees high quality services as a top priority.

At the same time, we continue to work – in close consultation with our European partners – on further international coordination and collaboration, particularly in the area of intelligence. This is important with regard to both security and bringing down the level of costs.

Passenger rights

Finally, I would like to say a few words about passenger rights.

In November, the European Court of Justice passed judgement on the rights of passengers in the event of protracted delays. I have noticed that many of you are surprised at the strictness of this verdict. I have also noticed that you are worried about the impact this may have on the level playing field.

However, if the European Court of Justice passes judgement, it is a binding verdict. That is how the European legal system works.

I can tell you that next month the European Commission will meet with the national enforcement bodies in order to discuss the implications of this Court verdict. During that meeting they will also discuss ways to implement the verdict as unequivocally as possible in actual practice.

It is up to the legislator to provide a solution with regard to this issue. The European Commission has initiated a consultation procedure on the effects of the consumer legislation concerned. I am counting on your active input to help steering the right course in the European legislative process.

This is a challenge for 2010.
At the same time, let us not forget what we achieved in 2009 in the field of passenger rights.

Thanks to BARIN and the Consumers’ Association, the Netherlands last year hosted the first private Arbitration Board in the aviation industry. It serves as a magnificent example of self-regulation. The Netherlands is taking the lead in Europe in this regard.

Our goal is: a European approach to consumer protection in the aviation industry. I am proud that in the Netherlands we are showing others the way forward in this area.

The vast majority of airlines, united in BARIN, are participating in the Arbitration Board. I hope, of course, that the others will join soon. But better yet, I would say: join BARIN. It will put you in very good company!

Ladies and gentlemen, I would now like to raise a glass with you and make a toast to 2010.
Soon after the “take off” of the new year, I wish you all a pleasant and successful flight.

➡ Click on: Photo Impression BARIN New Year Gathering 2010

BARIN Chairman New Year’s Addresses 2010 + 2011

By | Points of view

BARIN Chairman New Year’s Address 2010 by Huib Gorter at the BARIN New Year Gathering at the HILTON Schiphol on 15 Jan. 2010

Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen

The airline and travel related industries tend to be populated by individuals who are optimistic and confident by nature.
Why is this and why must it be so
– our business is cyclical
– fuel price volatility
– high investment cost
– fragility in customer behaviour in times of economic upheaval
– time lapse between aircraft ordering and final delivery
– taxation measures that can undermine our proposition and scare passengers away.

At this time last year we were extremely vocal in our resistance to the ‘vliegtax’. One should also be vocal in-so-far as complimenting the government on its retraction of the tax in, life it is not about being right but it is about doing the right things.

I would like to talk about the Customer
– era of unfulfilled promises to customers is long past us all
– any self respecting carrier places the customer first, treats him with respect and provides him the service he deserves
– aside from the fact that providing good customer service can be the singularly most satisfying activity a human being can do for another.

Should a customer not be given the service he deserves within the context of EU ruling 261 there is now a geschillencommissie luchtvaart.
We as BARIN have been and will continue to be supportive of the self-regulating arbitration instrument the ‘geschillencommissie’.

We wish to thank the parties who have worked hard with us towards getting this off the ground. We do however believe in the principle of the level playing field within Europe in respect to arbitration and we are pleased that our special guest, minister Eurlings shares this view and has undertaken to take this up in the European arena.
For those airlines who are non-BARIN-member airline, I seek their co-operation to uphold and abide by the principles of the ADRA or geschillencommissie luchtvaart.

I now would like to touch upon another issue relating to the customer, his well being and rights in respect to EU ruling 261 and more expliciti the provisional ruling of 19th of November.

It is not the occasion to enter into the legal aspects however we are questioning that a court can sit on the seat of the legislator and rewrite legislation even if that legislation in itself was poorly crafted at the time.

Possible consequences of the ruling
– additional Euro 3-5 billion costs to the industry
– the Customer will ultimately have to pay the price whether it be through fare increases or schedule reduction of airlines.

The industry is examining the legal options open to us and we are of the view that there should be single European approach and not nationally divergent. The Minister supports this view and this will be tabled in Brussels in February.

As BARIN we strive to have a transparent open relationship with Schiphol.
We are of the view that this is steadily evolving, SPL was required to reduce cost and that they are doing. Airport charges were frozen effective 01 April.
Airlines would have been elated if fares would have remained frozen since the economic down-turn if so we would notbe collectively moving towards, a collective worldwide Euro 8billion loss, we as airlines still seek reductions in charges.

Schiphol is a good airport whatever some ill informed English tabloid journalist may write, it is a modern facility that ultimately provides the right infrastructure for us to operate in.

We are heartened that Schiphol wishes to position itself as preferred airport. The wheels have been set in motion to achieve this.
We as customers are keen to see these ambitions become reality.
In the eyes of the customer being a preferred airport is not only offering the service and facilities to passengers/customers but also preferred to those other customers namely airlines (whether Cargo or Passengers) we are committed to work together with Schiphol to work professionally towards them achieving their goal

I started off my speech by stating that if one is not an optimist one should not be in our industry, lets look at the bright side
– early signs of Economic recovery are there
– the network at Schiphol is expected to remain intact
– (facetitiously) fuel is going up which can be good news for those who have hedged
hedged
– security scans will be coming
– cargo is picking up
– many airlines have become lean + mean and geared for the future
– an airport committed to reducing cost and becoming the preferred airport
– finally we see a Customer who is returning to travel and ship his goods and
that what its all about ‘The Customer’

In closing I wish to thank you all for being here. thank my fellow board members who have never failed us and I wish to thank Minister Eurlings for being here and I now invite him to this rostrum

➡ Click on: Photo Impression BARIN New Year Gathering 2010

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Click on: BARIN Chairman New Year Address 2011 by Huib Gorter 21 January 2011 at the BARIN New Year Gathering in the Schiphol HILTON

❗ Click on: PHOTO’s for Tycho’s Eye photo impression of this BARIN New Year Event ➡ ➡

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