The government is permitted to reduce the number of flights permitted to arrive at and depart from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, according to a Dutch court decision. A verdict came after a coalition of airlines filed an appeal, claiming that by not consulting the public before limiting flight movements at the Dutch hub, the government had violated European law.
Transport Minister Mark Harbers has instructed Schiphol Airport to reduce flight movements by at least 60,000 over the next three years in response to mounting calls to reduce noise pollution.
An appeals court determined that the government may begin limiting flights at the end of the year and continue doing so through October 2024. The Hague wants to cut the number of flights by 12%, to 440,000 per year.
The Dutch flag carrier KLM criticized the most recent court ruling. KLM had teamed up with many other airlines, such as easyJet, Delta Air Lines, and Tui, to oppose the government’s intentions.
“We are disappointed about the ruling and are studying it,” the airline said in a statement shortly the verdict was announced.
“It is currently unclear when, how and in what way the ruling will be implemented and what it means for the number of aircraft movements at Schiphol,” the statement continued.
A different approach put out by KLM would require airlines to adopt quieter aircraft and scale back on early morning and late night flight movements in order to lessen the scourge of airplane noise pollution.
“We are convinced that these measures will enable us to reduce noise impact and CO2 emissions while retaining our network. We would very much like to achieve this in cooperation with government and airport authorities,” a spokesperson said.
Willie Walsh, director general of the industry trade group the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said the flight cap approach was a “job-destroying hostile approach to aviation” and that the Dutch government has chosen “a totally disproportionate response to managing noise”.