Schiphol Airport and some of the airport’s major airlines are currently embroiled in a lawsuit over a future passenger cap that could limit international flights from the airport.
Schiphol, one of the busiest not only in Europe but internationally and a hub for the KLM Group, is being forced to limit the number of international flights because of new rules from the Dutch government.
The rules will force Schiphol to work to reduce the number of flights from 500,000 to 460,000 per year, a decrease of 8%. The move, by the Dutch government, is one of the first, major flight caps instituted on an international hub because of sustainability.
The government said that the cap would help the country meet its climate goals. Schiphol was already forced to limit capacity this year not because of sustainability, but because of issues at the airport.
The news wasn’t met with acclaim from all parties involved.
KLM Group, which employs Schiphol as its hub and is responsible for close to 60% of the traffic at the airport, has voiced opposition to the cap. The group, along with Delta Air Lines, Corendon, EasyJet, and TUI have joined forces in a lawsuit to challenge the decision, calling the move “incomprehensible.”
“The airlines maintain that the Dutch government’s unilateral and sudden decision to reduce Schiphol’s capacity from 500,000 to 460,000 flight annual movements (with the ultimate goal of reducing flight movements to 440,000 by 2024) is incomprehensible,” a statement from the group said.
“The airlines have already made multi-billion euros investments to meet near- and long-term goals in line with their own decarbonization trajectories as well as government policies, while the government’s justification hinges on operational restrictions with no consideration of alternative workable solutions to effect noise reduction.”
The group said that the decision is unnecessary considering what the airline industry is already doing to meet CO2 emission and noise level goals and that it will hurt airlines, travelers, and the standing of Schiphol among other European air hubs. It will now undertake a legal challenge in order to stop the cap.
Schiphol, for its part, has maintained that the move is a necessary “intermediate step towards a good and robust system of protection and certainty and furthermore is workable.”