JetBlue’s worst fears about the future of its flights to Amsterdam were realized on Thursday after Dutch authorities blocked the airline from operating any flights to the city’s Schiphol Airport for the Summer 2024 season.
Having fought long and hard to acquire take-off and landing slots at Amsterdam Schiphol and having only launched flights from New York and Boston to the Dutch capital this August, JetBlue’s presence in Amsterdam is to be prematurely ended.
The head of Airport Coordination Netherlands, the official body which awards take-off and landing rights at slot-controlled Schiphol, confirmed to Bloomberg that JetBlue was one of 24 airlines that had failed to win any slots for the IATA Summer 2024 season, which runs from the end of March to the end of October each year.
Other airlines that have historical rights to fly to Amsterdam Schiphol will also be forced to reduce the number of slots they hold by 3.1% as part of the Dutch government’s plans to slash flights from the current cap of half a million per year to 452,000 flight movements by next winter.
The flight cut plan was drawn up with experimental legislation designed to reduce noise pollution, which blights local communities around the airport, although the policy has faced fierce opposition from the airline industry, and a last-ditch legal appeal to block the legislation is still underway.
JetBlue has called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to bar Dutch flag carrier KLM from operating flights to New York JFK as part of a retaliatory measure designed to put pressure on the Dutch government to rethink its proposal.
In a statement on Thursday, JetBlue said it believes “the US and Dutch governments have an obligation under our historic Open Skies agreement to ensure that JetBlue is granted continued access at Amsterdam’s only viable airport”.
A spokesperson said JetBlue’s flights have “already demonstrated a unique value to customers”.
In response to JetBlue’s demands for retaliatory measures, KLM said it already stands to be “impacted gravely” by the capacity cuts and that the proposed countermeasures are “grossly unfair”.
KLM says it has developed a better solution to reduce noise pollution, which would see airlines being forced to operate newer and quieter aircraft to and from Amsterdam. Early morning and late night departures would also be banned, and approaches into the airfield would be optimized to reduce engine noise.
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.