JetBlue is calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to ban Dutch flag carrier KLM from New York JFK Airport in response to plans in the Netherlands to dramatically reduce the number of flights allowed to operate in and out of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
In a bid to reduce noise pollution around the airport, the Dutch caretaker government has drawn up ‘experimental’ legislation to cut the current flight cap from half a million a year to just 452,000 flight movements by next winter.
JetBlue is furious with the flight reduction plan and has filed a formal complaint with the DOT, accusing the Dutch government of breaking its Open Skies agreement with the United States, which is meant to guarantee free and fair access for airlines from both countries.
Several U.S. airlines fear they’ll lose takeoff and landing slots in Amsterdam as a result of the flight cuts, and JetBlue claims that will effectively mean they can no longer operate flights to the Dutch city.
JetBlue is demanding the DOT responds with a tit-for-tat response by reducing KLM schedules to the United States.
“The only proportional schedule reduction would be a suspension of all KLM services at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), the sole slot-controlled international airport in the United States, and where KLM has benefitted from slots created and overseen by the U.S. Government,” JetBlue said in response to the DOT on Monday.
JetBlue has also suggested the DOT could reduce KLM’s antitrust immunity on its transatlantic joint business venture or, at the very least, force KLM to hand over two of its Amsterdam slots to JetBlue to allow the airline to continue to operate to the Netherlands.
KLM has already responded to JetBlue’s complaint, saying it stands to be “impacted gravely” by the capacity cuts, as well as any countermeasures taken by other governments like the United States.
While JetBlue is demanding the DOT to implement countermeasures as quickly as possible, the Dutch flag carrier is urging officials not to “rush to implement retaliatory countermeasures”.
KLM is currently leading a legal challenge against the Dutch government’s controversial plans and says it would be “grossly unfair” for it to be penalized for the actions of its government.
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.