The KLM Group, Delta Air Lines, Corendon, easyJet and TUI are taking summary proceedings against the Dutch government and its decision to cut Schiphol flights.

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 a hundred thousand 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. They have already made multi-billion euros investments to meet near- and long-term goals in line with their own decarbonisation trajectories as well as government policies, they stated, 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% 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.

“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. 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,” said KLM CEO Marjan Rintel.

Image: Royal Schiphol Group