The KLM Group, Delta Air Lines, Corendon, easyJet and TUI are joining forces 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 by directly and indirectly providing more than a hundred thousand jobs. Every year, millions of people across the Netherlands use the airport 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 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.
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. Additionally, 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.
Management of the Airlines each released a statement with a firm resolve to take action.
In an announcement by Marjan Rintel, President and CEO of KLM, he stated, “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.”
Delta Air Lines’ Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Peter Carter said
“Delta is committed to ambitious sustainability targets and wants to work collaboratively to meet these goals. We firmly believe that it is possible and, indeed, necessary to properly balance sustainability priorities with economic and wider societal interests. We strongly object to capacity reductions at Schiphol Airport and remain actively focused on investing in our fleet renewal and modernization program as the most effective way forward to mitigate noise and environmental concerns.”
General Manager TUI Netherlands ArjanKersnoted that “the proposed measures will negatively limit Dutch travelers’ options. That is why TUI wholeheartedly supports this action. The measures are contrary to (European) regulations and government policies that have been in place for years and do not reward the efforts that have been and are being made by airlines to reduce noise and emissions.”
CEO Corendon Steven van der Heijdenadded his voice by issuing another statement that said, “emphatic focus on rapid fleet renewal will reduce noise levels and emissions in the short term far more effectively than imposing limits on capacity, which will only serve to put pressure on network connections and holiday flights, driving passengers across the border.”
CEO Transavia Marcel de Nooijeron behalf of his company said Transavia found 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,” Marcel added.
The Country Manager of easyJet, William Vetfinally closed off the statements about the situation and declared, “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.”