Country officials have announced that the number of flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport will be reduced, while also cutting down on pollution and noise.
As a part of the Dutch environment protection strategy, the airport in Netherlands will only host 440.000 flights per year, which is 20 percent less when compared to the previous figures.
However, the airport’s as well as KLM’s representatives think that the move will have “dramatic consequences” regarding the “accessibility of the Netherlands”. Moreover, the airline declared that the decision will not impact climate and quality of life as expected:
“The decision is in conflict with the government’s coalition agreement in three different ways: it does not tally with the desire to retain a strong hub function for our national economy; it does not support stable and predictable national enterprise; and it fails to improve our quality of life and climate.”
On the other hand, Mark Harbers, minister of infrastructure and water management, commented:
“It’s difficult news for the aviation sector, which is still recovering from the huge impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. I am very much aware of this. We will now be fleshing out the details of our decision on the Amsterdam Schiphol airport, together with local residents and aviation stakeholders.”
The airport also replied:
“The plans of the cabinet as presented now lead to great uncertainty and much remains unclear. We see that major risks are being taken with regard to the quality of the network. There is also the risk that going back to the old noise system would mean a shift in noise nuisance that would not be beneficial to the surrounding communities.”
Nevertheless, Schiphol’s representatives stated that the hub will collaborate with the authorities in order to substantially cut back on noise and air pollution. In the opinion of ACI Europe, Schiphol represents “a massive benefit to the Netherlands at various levels”.
“In so many ways, Schiphol is what makes the Netherlands bigger than it is. From that standpoint, there is no doubt that the decision of the government to significantly reduce the capacity of the airport will make the Netherlands smaller”, added Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, backs up ACI:
“This sudden decision is a shocking blow to aviation, jobs, and the economy of the Netherlands. It comes on top of a tripling of the passenger tax, and a 37 per cent rise in airport charges. We are seeing a throttling of air connectivity which has been steadily built up for 100 years and supported large parts of the Dutch economy and the aspirations of millions of Dutch travellers.”
If the plan will not feature any changes, the controversial decision will be applied starting November 2023.