Airlines serving Amsterdam Schiphol airport are switching to smaller planes or leaving seats empty due to the hub’s capacity cuts, according to Bloomberg.

According to the news site, airlines including Air Serbia and Air Baltic have been asked to reduce occupancy levels on outbound services from the Dutch base.

It added that the former has been asked to curb passenger loads by about 28 per cent on flights to Belgrade from July 7, and that both carriers are considering legal action to seek compensation from the airport operator.

Bloomberg says that Air Serbia, which operates nine flights per week from Amsterdam, has written to Schiphol “asking it to reconsider the requirements for reducing seating”.

This comes after Schiphol airport announced plans to limit the number of travellers departing from the airport this summer due to a shortfall of security employees. Schiphol has placed a cap of 67,500 travellers per day for July, rising to 73,000 for August.

The airport stated at the end of June:

“The forecasts for the first week of August indicate that there are around 1,000 locally departing passengers too many relative to security capacity. Some of the seats accounted for in the schedule have not yet been sold. Based on the capacity made available by Schiphol, the independent slot coordinator will consult with all airlines to adjust the number of passengers in the first week of August in relation to the security capacity.”

Nevertheless, operating flights that are not at full capacity is at odds with the airport’s aims to be more environmentally friendly.

From November 2023, the maximum number of flights allowed per year at the airport will also be cut by 20 per cent in a bid to reduce noise and air pollution – a decision that was met by criticism from airlines and industry bodies alike.

Meanwhile environmental groups are filing a lawsuit against Dutch airline KLM over the advertising campaign ‘Fly Responsibly’, which they claim is misleading the public on the company’s sustainable initiatives.

Rene de Groot, KLM’s chief operating officer, has also today been hired by British Airways in the same role. He will begin the role at BA on October 1, with current COO Jason Mahoney moving to the role of chief technical officer.