KLM and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have reacted positively to the news that a Dutch court upheld their legal challenge against the Dutch government’s plans to introduce flight cuts at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS).
The Dutch government announced its intention to cut the annual flight movements at AMS from 500,000 to 460,000 from November 2023.
Immediately after the announcement, IATA stated that it will sue the government, believing that its decision to cut flights “contravenes EU Regulation 598/2014 on noise-related operating restrictions at EU airports”. Furthermore, the association cited Annex 16 of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Chicago Convention, “a binding international agreement to which the Netherlands is a signatory”, which contains the provisions for a balanced approach to aircraft noise management.
After the court overruled the flight cuts at AMS, IATA Director General Willie Walsh said the association welcomed the decision, adding that the case had been “about upholding the law and international obligations”.
Walsh continued: “The judge has understood that the Dutch government violated its obligations in shortcutting processes that would bring scrutiny to its desire to cut flight numbers at Schiphol. This decision gives vital stability for this year to the airlines using Schiphol airport and maintains the choice and connectivity passengers value.”
In a separate statement, KLM, whose main hub is at AMS, said it “would rather cooperate with the other parties than face them in court” but had been “forced” to file preliminary relief proceedings to “get clarity; the capacity for the coming winter will be determined at the beginning of May”.
“With this verdict, we have clarity,” the Dutch airline added.
Recently, Royal Schiphol Group, which owns AMS, Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM) and Lelystad Airport (LEY) and has a majority stake in Eindhoven Airport (EIN), announced eight measures to control aircraft and noise emissions.
One of the measures includes a ban on private jet flights and imposing a nightly curfew for take-offs between 12:00 AM and 6:00 AM and landings between 12:00 AM and 5:00 AM. The owners of AMS also want to scrap the Dutch government’s plans to add another runway parallel to the Kaagbaan Runway.