Dutch airline KLM fears that the American government will take “countermeasures” against him following the controversial plan to reduce the number of flights authorized to take off and land at the Amsterdam hub Schiphol.
In a bid to reduce noise pollution around the airport, the Dutch caretaker government has drawn up “experimental” legislation aimed at reducing the current cap on flights from half a million per year to just 452,000 flight movements. here next winter.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently investigating the project after JetBlue filed a formal complaint, alleging that the Dutch government was violating its Open Skies agreement with the United States, which was supposed to guarantee free and fair access for airlines from both country. JetBlue fears losing its valuable takeoff and landing slots in Amsterdam as part of the capacity reduction and is calling on the DOT to respond by imposing a similar number of flight cuts to the United States on Dutch airlines.
In response to JetBlue’s complaint, KLM says it risks being “severely impacted” by the capacity reductions, as well as countermeasures taken by other governments such as the United States. “KLM will not only see its flights reduced to Amsterdam, but will now face the possibility of US retaliation,” the airline said in response. “Now is not the time for the Department to rush to implement retaliatory countermeasures.”
In fact, KLM claims to have been “at the forefront of the legal challenge to the Dutch government’s measures to reduce capacity at Amsterdam Schiphol » and having been a co-plaintiff with JetBlue in a legal challenge against his own government.
A first legal victory for KLM was overturned by an appeals court, although the Air France partner company is continuing its case before the Dutch Supreme Court.
KLM’s argument is based on the so-called framework of “the balanced approach”, according to which flight reductions should only be imposed as a last resort, after other methods of reducing noise pollution have been tried. The airline industry says it can reduce noise and polluting emissions around Schiphol by investing in new more durable aircraftadopting smarter flight plans and schedules and redeveloping land around the airport. “It would be completely unfair to penalize KLM for the actions of the Dutch government through the draconian countermeasures suggested by JetBlue”the airline said on Friday. “There is no justification to punish KLM since it did not initiate and will not benefit from the cuts imposed by the Dutch government”specifies KLM.
The DOT has sought input from the entire aviation industry and has so far heard from a number of major stakeholders, including American Airlines, which is also concerned about being negatively impacted by the Dutch government’s plans. American Airlines and the commercial group Airlines for America called on the US DOT to engage with the Dutch government and the European Commission, but stopped short of demanding retaliatory measures.