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Dutch Government Suspends Flight Cap at Amsterdam Schiphol Following Meeting With U.S. Government Officials

Dutch Government Suspends Flight Cap at Amsterdam Schiphol Following Meeting With U.S. Government Officials

a group of airplanes parked at an airport

The Dutch government has ditched plans to slash the number of flights allowed to take-off and land at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport from the start of the airline industry’s next summer season, which starts March 31, 2024.

The decision to suspend the so-called ‘experimental legislation’ was made public just a day after U.S. government officials met with their counterparts in the Dutch government and at the European Commission to discuss the controversial policy.

The Biden administration has been mulling potential countermeasures against Dutch airlines, including flag carrier KLM, with JetBlue demanding its rival be banned from flying to New York JFK if the flight ban goes ahead.

JetBlue was to have been blocked from flying to Amsterdam Schiphol if the experimental legislation had been put into effect as part of the Dutch government’s plans to slash the current annual flight cap from half a million to just 462,000 during the 2024 summer season.

The Hague hoped the policy would help dramatically cut noise pollution and CO2 emissions around the airport, but the caretaker government had faced fierce opposition from across the aviation industry.

Interestingly, however, Schiphol Airport reacted with disappointment on Tuesday to the news that the flight cap plan was being suspended saying that local residents now faced “getting the short end of the stick”.

While the airport operator didn’t necessarily approve of the flight cap plan, it at least provided “clarity and certainty for local residents”. The Royal Schiphol Group said it would now speed up plans to bring in a nighttime flight plan in order to help reduce noise pollution.

KLM was, though, elated with the development and said the decision now lifted the threat of the U.S. government retaliating against it.

The Dutch government has come under fire for the way it intended to enforce the experimental legislation because followed a European Commission legal process known as the ‘Balanced Approach’ framework.

Under the Balanced Approach, European governments must first explore other methods to reduce pollution before banning flights. KLM says it has already agreed a number of other methods to reduce emissions, including using newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft and reducing the number of flights in the early morning or late at night.

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