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Taxi drivers blockade Stockholm airport

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Taxi drivers blockade Stockholm airport
11:15 CET+01:00
Independent taxi drivers have blocked road routes in and out of Stockholm's main Arlanda airport in protest against new taxi system regulations introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority (Luftfartsverket - LFV).

No cars or buses are able to get into or depart from the airport terminals which is the main hub for the Stockholm region.

"There remains a problem on road routes - all of the taxi ranks and routes into the terminals remain blocked," Anders Bredfell, press spokesperson at Arlanda Airport, told The Local at 11.30am on Thursday.

Arlanda has classified the protest as illegal and has thus handed over the matter to the police.

"As Arlanda Airport is a protected area this is an illegal, criminal activity and our regulations stipulate that it is thus a police matter," Bredfell said.

Bredfell told The Local that it is still possible to access most of the airport by car and bus, and said that train services were running as normal.

"It is mostly affecting those wanting to leave the airport. But for all concerned I would recommend that you allow extra time," he said.

The Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket) ruled on March 17th not to investigate a complaint from independent taxi drivers over the new queue system scheduled for introduction by LFV on Tuesday.

The conflict between the taxi firms and LFV is part of a long running dispute.

The Competition Authority ruled on October 23rd 2009 that LFV should hold off on plans to change the taxi rank system at the airport. LFV then returned with a revised plan which has now been deemed acceptable by the Authority but has incurred the wrath of independent drivers who allege that the major firms are being favouritised.

The new plan divides the taxi firms into seven queues with Stockholm Transfer and Airport Cab, Taxi Kurir, Taxi 020 and Norrbilar all being given a queue each, with Taxi Stockholm getting two. All the remaining independent taxi drivers are assigned to the seventh line.

"While we are not in any participating in the blockade, we have a certain degree of understanding for the protesters - it is their livelihood that is at stake," Michael Chalkiadakis at Stockholm Transfer told The Local on Thursday.

Stockholm Transfer argues that it is LFV which has not accepted the decision by the competition authority, has appealed a market court decision, and is now awaiting that appeal.

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