DALLAS — The outgoing Dutch government has sparked outrage from airline organizations and even threats of retaliatory measures from Washington with its plans to cap the number of flights at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS).
The government’s plan to enforce a reduction of over 10% in AMS’ annual flight numbers by 2024 can potentially reduce annual flight numbers to 450,000 or even 440,000. The reason cited for the measure is the need to tackle noise pollution and meet strict environmental guidelines to obtain a new nature permit, aligning with stricter environmental policies currently in place.
Further, the coalition agreement for the plan emphasizes the importance of mitigating the negative effects of aviation on humans, the environment, and nature. It acknowledges challenges related to nitrogen levels, fine particles, noise pollution, living environment quality, safety, and housing.
Originally, the government intended to impose a ban on night flights and restrict the use of private jets, but these measures proved too problematic to implement. The decision has only now been finalized and sent to Brussels for verification of its legality by the European Union.
Backlash from the Aviation Industry
The proposal has been met with criticism from the aviation sector, which argues that it will have severe consequences for trade relations and employment opportunities.
Major players in the aviation sector released a statement expressing concerns about the severe consequences that may result from the AMS decision, particularly affecting trade relations with the Netherlands’ partners and causing job losses and economic decline within the country.
Airline associations have also criticized the government’s plans, deeming them far from uncontroversial. Ourania Georgoutsakou, the managing director of Airlines For Europe (A4E), described the decision as arbitrary, poorly considered, and deviating from standard procedures.
Further, airlines such as Air France-KLM have filed a lawsuit to oppose the proposed capacity limit at one of Europe’s busiest airports. They argue that it will negatively impact their business and breach prior agreements. KLM in particular has expressed its disbelief in the cap, stating that it would harm the Netherlands.
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Featured image: PH-BXV KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 737-800 AMS EHAM. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways