The Dutch government continues its policy of reducing flights at Schiphol

The government of the Netherlands, which resigned on July 14, 2023, confirmed on September 1, 2023 that it would continue on the path of reducing movements at Schiphol international airport. After a judgment invalidating this decision, in April 2023, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, however, ruled in favor of the government by overturning the judgment.

The government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, although on departure after his resignation, relying on the decision of the Court of Appeal, therefore confirmed its initial wish to reduce movements at Schiphol airport from 500,000 to 460,000. by summer 2024 to potentially reach 452,500 annual movements thereafter. The Dutch government highlights the reduction of noise for residents near the airport and the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Immediately, the KLM company, which was at the origin of the initial complaint, rejected by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, expressed concern in a press release, describing this decision as “incomprehensible” and fearing the strong impact that this decision could have on employment.

For its part, IATA says it is outraged by this decision taken by a member state of the European Union, without consideration of European regulations in this area. “In a few months, this government will not be responsible for the serious consequences that could arise, particularly with regard to relations with the Netherlands’ trading partners, as well as the loss of jobs and prosperity in the country. »

“Such an important and controversial measure requires appropriate democratic review and political accountability,” the IATA statement continued.

The ACI (Airport Council International), through its director general Olivier Jankovec, was also concerned about this decision, taken according to him in disagreement with European regulations and without studying other possibilities for noise reduction: “ The Dutch government has not given sufficient consideration to proposed alternative measures that would have achieved the stated noise mitigation objectives without requiring a reduction in capacity at Schiphol.

The ACI also points to “decisions which aim to obtain rapid political gains before the national elections [editor’s note: early legislative elections which will be held on November 22, 2023], to the detriment of the economy and employment in the Netherlands . We call on the European Commission to urgently ensure compliance with European legislation. »

European regulations, under the so-called “balanced approach” principle in the context of managing airport noise pollution, only consider the cancellation of flights as a measure of last resort, to be taken only when a certain number of Other measures have been studied, without success, to achieve the objectives of reducing noise pollution. IATA further specifies that “the balanced approach is used specifically to ensure that the needs of local communities are respected, that the wider benefits of air connectivity to the nation are protected and that actions are respected internationally . »

The Dutch government, which is also considering the possibility of partially closing Schipol airport at night, says it has transmitted its decision to the European Commission, which must deliver its opinion in the coming weeks.

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