Dutch government continues capping flights at Schiphol, KLM disagrees

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The Dutch government will move forward with its plan to limit the number of flightsAmsterdam Schiphol Airport next year in order to reduce noise, he announced Friday, a decision fiercely opposed by the national airline KLM and industry groups air Transport.

“Aviation can bring a lot of good to the Netherlands, as long as we pay attention to the negative effects for people who live near the airport”, said Transport Minister Mark Harbers in a statement announcing the cap, which will come into force in 2024 pending approval from the European Commission. Flights will be capped at 452,500 per yearHarbers said, which is 9.5% below 2019 levels and lower than a previous proposal of 460,000.

Airlines that use Schiphol, including Air France-KLMfiled a lawsuit to try to prevent the cap at one of Europe’s busiest airports. They say it would hurt businesses and violate previous agreements. KLM thus qualified this ceiling on Friday as “incomprehensible” and said its implementation would harm the Netherlands. “Unfortunately, the Dutch government today announced the government’s intention to significantly reduce the number of flights operated at Dutch Airport Schiphol. In doing so, the minister chooses to focus solely on reducing capacity as a goal in itself. We find this incomprehensible. It is not a question here of the number of flight movements but of the noise reduction. Noise targets can be better achieved, which would actually benefit local residents, the climate, airlines and the Dutch economy. »

Air France’s partner company says its plan “cleaner, quieter and more efficient” shows that it can achieve the noise objectives, while ensuring the current number of flights. “This plan embodies a serious commitment on the part of KLM. We can achieve this if we have the space to do so. Our plan will achieve the goals while ensuring faster renewal of our aircraft, supporting cleaner, quieter and more efficient flight operations. » She adds : “On the other hand, the minister opts for unnecessary reductions rather than real improvements. We find it inconceivable that the minister would consider demolishing what KLM helped build for nearly 104 years. » The decision is “arbitrary, poorly thought out and goes against normally used procedures”has for her part declared Ourania Georgoutsakou, general director of the industrial group Airlines For Europe (A4E).

The main reason given by the government to justify this ceiling is to fight against noise pollution, but he also spoke of the need to reduce carbon emissions greenhouse gas, as well as recurring logistical problems at the airport. Environmental groups and Schiphol itself support the cuts.

Airlines opposed to the ban appealed to the Dutch Supreme Court after losing their appeal in July. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which supports the airlines’ cause, called on the Dutch interim government on Thursday not to proceed before national elections in November. “In a few months, this government will not be held responsible for the serious consequences that could arise from Schiphol’s decision, particularly with regard to relations with the Netherlands’ trading partners, as well as the loss of jobs and prosperity in the country “, IATA said in a statement.

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