Five carriers including KLM, Delta and easyJet are to challenge the Dutch government’s decision to cap flights at Amsterdam Schiphol airport on environmental grounds.

Last month we reported that annual flight movements would be limited to 460,000 through until September 2024, in a bid to cut air and noise pollution.

But in a joint statement KLM Group, Delta, Corendon, easyJet and TUI said that they were 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 statement continued that the carriers were “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”.

Calling the annual cap “incomprehensible”, the statement said that “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 carriers claim that the decision violates national, European and international legislation, and was “unnecessary, damaging and lacks proper substantiation”.

The statement also said that “In addition to negatively impacting the Dutch economy, the capacity reduction would significantly reduce travel options and connectivity for consumers”.

The legal action was initiated by the KLM Group, which accounts for around 60 per cent of traffic at Schiphol, and is being supported by industry bodies Airlines for Europe and the European Regions Airline Association.

In addition the International Air Transport Association and “a number of airlines” will also go to court to initiate proceedings against the Dutch government.

William Vet, Country Manager easyJet said that “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”, while Marjan Rintel, CEO KLM, commented:

“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.”

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