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Airlines join forces, urge courts to safeguard Schiphol

Low-cost operators easyJet and Transavia are joining forces with TUI, the wider KLM Group, Delta Air Lines and Corendon to take summary proceedings against the Dutch government in a bid to keep the Netherlands’ connected to the rest of the world’ via Schiphol Airport.

The airlines are challenging the government’s unilateral decision to significantly cut flight movements at Schiphol, confident they can reduce noise levels and CO2 emissions while maintaining a network of destinations for the millions of passengers and tonnes of cargo they carry annually to and from Schiphol.

Schiphol Airport makes a significant contribution to the Dutch economy, providing more than 100,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly. Millions of people across the Netherlands use the airport every year for business trips, vacations, family visits or studies, while the airport’s international network makes it attractive to foreign companies looking to establish themselves in the Netherlands.

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. The airlines have already made multi-billion euro investments to meet near- and long-term goals in line with their own decarbonisation 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.

In addition to negatively impacting the Dutch economy, the capacity reduction would significantly reduce travel options and connectivity for consumers. The airlines maintain that, along with violating national, European and international legislation, the decision is unnecessary, damaging and lacks proper substantiation, given the airline industry is already achieving significant results in relation to reducing CO2 emissions and lowering noise levels.

For these reasons, KLM, KLM Cityhopper, Martinair, Transavia – all part of Air France-KLM Group – as well as Corendon, Delta Air Lines, easyJet and TUI are urging the courts to safeguard the future capacity of Schiphol Airport.

The KLM Group, which accounts for close to 60 per cent of traffic at Schiphol, initiated this legal action in line with parent company Air France-KLM Group’s position on the matter. In addition, industry association BARIN has indicated its full support for this initiative. This initiative is also fully supported by industry associations Airlines for Europe (A4E) and the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) because the capacity reduction at Schiphol has major implications for the EU’s single aviation market. In a further move, industry association IATA and a number of airlines will also be going to court to initiate proceedings against the Dutch government.

Transavia’s chief executive Marcel de Nooijer said: “Transavia finds itself compelled to join the summary proceedings against the reduction of capacity at Schiphol to 460,000 flight movements. As a company, we have made an important decision to invest billions in a cleaner, more fuel-efficient and quieter fleet, so that we can continue to offer our passengers a pleasant trip to beautiful destinations. Reducing the number of flights does not provide a solution and will not have the desired effect for local residents and the environment.”

easyJet country manager William Vet added: “By choosing to pursue an arbitrary flight cap the Dutch government totally disregards both the efforts made by the industry to decarbonise as well as the socio-economic benefits of aviation, significantly reducing connectivity. easyJet is taking important steps towards the decarbonisation of our operations, having recently published our roadmap to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, which includes a combination of operational efficiencies, fleet renewal, and other elements like airspace modernisation.”


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