Joe McClain - Jun 2, 2024
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The Dutch Council of Ministers has announced new measures to reduce noise pollution at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol by 2025. According to the statement, these measures include reducing 5,000-night flights and bringing the total number of operations down from 32,000 to 27,000.

This represents a new phase in the Dutch government's plan, which began in September 2023 when the Netherlands announced the decision to implement experimental regulations to limit the number of flights at Schiphol to a maximum of 452,500 operations per year.

In March, a judge ruled that the state has one year to comply with the rules to limit noise pollution, stating that "more attention should be paid to the interests of residents."

The only measure included for 2024 is that the national airline KLM will voluntarily replace noisy planes with quieter ones at night by November this year.

The new measures, set to take effect in 2025, will significantly impact local residents. The most notable change is the reduction of night flights from 32,000 to 27,000 operations. Additionally, two runways at Schiphol will be closed from 13:00 to 15:00, providing residents with a much-needed daily rest period.

Furthermore, the airport plans to implement higher fees for noisy aircraft, aiming to incentivize airlines to use quieter planes. The noisiest aircraft, like the Boeing 747-400, will be prohibited from flying at night, meaning they cannot land or take off between 23:00 and 07:00 hours.

In November 2026, the government is considering partially closing the airport at night. However, before deciding, they want to study the potential impact on residents and the aviation sector. The study's results will be available in the summer. If a night-time closure is not feasible, alternative measures must be considered, as stated in the official announcement.

The government wants to emphasize that a significant portion of the noise reduction target has already been achieved compared to the September package. In September, there were 452,500 flight movements per year, whereas now the number will be between 460,000 and 470,000. According to Infrastructure Minister Mark Harbers, banning large, heavy aircraft at night and implementing two-runway rest periods during the day will significantly reduce the disturbance experienced by residents.

Citizens will play a crucial role in shaping the final decision in the coming weeks. Their feedback on these measures will be instrumental. The government will consider their feedback before making a final decision. Subsequently, the European Commission will issue an opinion on the Dutch proposals, and all of this will need to be incorporated into a new Airport Traffic Decree, which will also reinstate the legal protections for local residents.

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