Vanderlei J. Pollack - Nov 16, 2023
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The Dutch government has announced that it will no longer pursue plans to limit flight operations at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport starting in 2024. According to a statement from the Ministry of Infrastructure, this decision was made to avoid noise pollution. However, the government remains committed to finding a balance between the airport and its surrounding areas.

Last September, the Netherlands proposed experimental regulations to limit Schiphol flights to 452,500 per year. Despite this decision being reversed, the country will still work towards reducing noise disturbances at the airport. The government has stated that this is a priority and will continue implementing the "balanced approach procedure" to address the issue.

The government suspended a reduction plan due to international reactions, mainly from the United States and Canada, which expressed their concern along with other countries. The American airline JetBlue was one of the most upset with the flight limit, as it was left without air capacity to fly to Amsterdam. The Dutch airline KLM also suffered a reduction in slots, along with other companies. This caused the airline to request the United States Department of Transportation prohibit KLM from accessing New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport if the restrictions were enforced. In response, the North American country issued an order stating that this procedure may violate EU regulations and the 2007 US-EU Air Transport Agreement. According to the Dutch Government, the United States sees the capacity reduction as unfair, discriminatory, and anti-competitive for airlines.

This order, dated November 2, requires Dutch airlines to share their flight schedules with the US government in advance as the first step in implementing countermeasures by the United States.

In addition, according to the Ministry's note, the EU expressed its "serious concern" in a letter sent to the Netherlands on November 13 for not following the "balanced approach procedure." The EU has explicitly stated that it retains the right to initiate infringement proceedings against the Netherlands in the upcoming round of infringements for not complying with European regulations. The letter also urges the Netherlands to take all necessary steps to ensure compliance with European regulations.

The airport of the Dutch capital has expressed disappointment regarding recent events that have caused inconvenience for local residents. According to the airport authorities, reducing the number of flights is not a goal. Still, it was necessary to implement new regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of local residents. The airport also highlighted that resorting to early application of these regulations would create more uncertainty, not just for the aviation sector but also for local residents. The airport authorities believe it is essential to reduce obstacles for local residents and ensure their comfort and convenience.

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