A Dutch court has ruled that the government is allowed to cut the number of flights allowed in and out of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. A ruling followed an appeal by a coalition of airlines who argued the government had breached European law by not first consulting on its plans to cap flight movements at the Dutch hub.
Under increasing pressure to cut noise pollution, Transportation Minister Mark Harbers has told Schiphol Airport to cut flight movements by at least 60,000 over the next few years.
An appeals court ruled that the government was allowed to start reducing flights from the end of the year through October 2024. The Hague wants a 12% flight reduction to just 440,000 flights per year.
Dutch flag carrier KLM, which had joined forces with several other carriers, including easyJet, Delta Air Lines and Tui to challenge the government’s plans blasted the latest court decision.
“We are disappointed about the ruling and are studying it,” the airline said in a statement shortly the verdict was announced.
“It is currently unclear when, how and in what way the ruling will be implemented and what it means for the number of aircraft movements at Schiphol,” the statement continued.
KLM has proposed an alternative way to reduce the blight of noise pollution from aircraft noise which would rely on airlines used quieter aircraft and reducing early morning and late night flight movements.
“We are convinced that these measures will enable us to reduce noise impact and CO2 emissions, while retaining our network. We would very much like to achieve this in cooperation with government and airport authorities,” a spokesperson said.
Willie Walsh, director general of the industry trade group the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said the flight cap approach was a “job-destroying hostile approach to aviation” and that the Dutch government has chosen “a totally disproportionate response to managing noise”.
The appeals court
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.