JetBlue has asked the US Department of Transportation to strike out its petition to have Dutch flag carrier KLM banned from flying to New York JFK in response to a controversial plan drawn up by the government in the Netherlands to reduce aircraft noise pollution at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
The so-called ‘experimental legislation’ proposed by Dutch lawmakers to improve the quality of life for thousands of local residents around Schiphol Airport would have slashed the number of flights allowed to takeoff and land at what is one of Europe’s busiest hub airports.
If the law had gone ahead, JetBlue would have lost its right to fly to Amsterdam, but the Dutch government abandoned the plans after an extraordinary intervention by senior US officials who warned the Hague that the legislation would have breached the European Open Skies agreement with the United States.
During a meeting with Dutch lawmakers, DOT officials made it known that it was considering a request by JetBlue to slap KLM Royal Dutch Airlines with a tit-for-tat flight ban that would have barred the carrier from operating flights between Amsterdam and JetBlue’s home at New York JFK.
In a letter to the DOT sent on Tuesday, JetBlue’s senior counsel wrote: “JetBlue is grateful to the Department for its extraordinary efforts to ensure U.S. flag carriers are not subjected to unjustifiable and unreasonable access restrictions at AMS,” the airline said in a letter sent to the DOT on Tuesday.
“JetBlue urges the Department to maintain vigilance for whenever a U.S. aviation partner – especially an Open Skies partner – threatens measures that deny U.S. flag carriers their exercise of rights to which they are entitled by an underlying air transport agreement,” the letter continued.
“Such leadership by the Department is crucial to fostering opportunities for expanded international flying by U.S. flag carriers, including JetBlue’s plans for adding more destinations to its route network, and encouraging a competitive and healthy aviation industry”.
The experimental legislation would have capped flight movements at Schiphol to just 460,000 per year, although the airline operator announced late last year that it would only have the capacity to handle an additional 23,000 flight movements in 2024 and has asked airlines to reduce flights at peak times.
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.