A plan to cap flights at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is not moving forward for the time being.
On Wednesday, a court overruled a plan by the Dutch government to cap flights at the airport at 460,000 in 2023-2024, a proposal that was introduced last year as a way to curb noise pollution and cut the airport’s environmental impact.
The court ruled that the government’s plan had not been properly vetted and that alternative solutions have not been explored. It also said that the airlines that serve the airport, which sued to stop the plan, had already made investments on the 500,000 cap, which was agreed to way back in 2015.
The change had been scheduled to start in late 2023. The news from the Dutch court stops that for the time being, but also potentially establishes a process for the Dutch government to cap flights at a later date if they follow a better, more robust process to do so.
Still, airlines applauded the news. Delta Air Lines, for instance, called the court’s decision “the right one, safeguarding a future for Schiphol.”
“Delta believes that it is possible to balance sustainability priorities with passengers’ desire to travel and connect with people across the world – something we have demonstrated through a vigorous commitment to fleet renewal and other practices to help decarbonize our operations and reduce noise,” said Delta Executive Vice President – External Affairs Peter Carter.
Delta, along with EasyJet, Corendon, TUI, and The KLM Group, which uses Schiphol as its hub, were the ones to challenge the government’s move to institute a cap. KLM, at the time the airlines announced their opposition, said it was embracing targets set for reducing noise levels and CO2 emissions, and that the cap was not needed.
“We are embracing the targets set for reducing noise levels and CO2 emissions, investing billions in fleet renewal and SAF procurement that will ultimately supersede these targets while maintaining our network that serves 170 destinations worldwide,” KLM CEO Marjan Rintel said.
“This is good news for the millions of people who fly from the Netherlands with KLM every year whether for business or leisure and for the cargo industry. As the government appears not to hear our call, unfortunately we find ourselves compelled to take legal action.”
The question now becomes if the Dutch government will try and put the cap in place for the 2024-2025 season. Amsterdam Schiphol, for its part, is also making moves to try and reduce traffic at the airport, including proposing a series of new measures, including a ban on private jets and a curfew for departures and takeoffs, no later than the 2025-2026 season.