Schiphol’s downsizing plans will be postponed for another year. Outgoing Infrastructure Minister Mark Harpers has to withdraw part of his plan after pressure from the US and Canada and a letter from the European Commission.
Harpers emailed about the matter Tuesday afternoon Brief To the House of Representatives.
Last year, before the decision, the minister fought several lawsuits against airlines that wanted to halt their downsizing plans. Ultimately, the downsizing plan was allowed to go ahead, but the minister won. The maximum number of flights at Schiphol had to be reduced from 500,000 to 460,000 next year and subsequently to 452,000.
In recent weeks, international unrest has emerged again over the shrinkage of Schiphol Airport after the distribution of flight places for next year. Due to the downturn, only companies with historical rights were eligible for space at Schiphol Airport.
This means that the American airline JetBlue has lost the opportunity to fly to Schiphol next summer. JetBlue then asked the US government to ban KLM from entering US airports.
Americans found the downsizing plan discriminatory
In his letter to Parliament, Harpers notes that the United States and Canada, among other countries, have expressed their concerns. The Americans called the downsizing plan unfair, discriminatory and anticompetitive, Harpers wrote.
The US government also announced countermeasures. For example, since the beginning of November, Dutch airlines have had to share their flight schedules in advance with the US government. There may also have been follow-up measures in place.
Harpers spoke on Monday with representatives of the US government and the European Union. There, the Americans once again repeated their criticism of the plan to reduce the size of the forces.
“Failure to follow EU rules”
Another reason to refrain from downsizing for the time being is a letter from European Commissioner for Transport Adina-Ioana Valian received by the Ministry of Infrastructure on Monday. According to Harper’s, Valian expresses serious concerns about not following the guidelines Balanced approach-Procedure.
EU rules state that you must follow the correct sequence of steps to reduce noise pollution. Airlines must be given the opportunity to achieve this in a way other than reducing the number of flights. This has always been a criticism of airlines.
According to Harper’s, Valian hints in her letter that the European Commission could initiate proceedings for non-compliance with European regulations.
Harper’s describes the decision as a “bitter pill.”
Reversing next year’s deflation is a “bitter pill for the environment,” Harpers wrote in his letter. But he also wrote that “the Cabinet is committed to restoring the balance between Schiphol and its living environment.”
The downsizing plan also included a significant reduction in the number of night flights. Because this will not happen now, Harpers has asked KLM to reduce noise pollution in the area as much as possible. KLM will therefore use the quietest possible aircraft for overnight flights from March 2024.
The city of Schiphol is witnessing the return of uncertainty among local residents
Chaebol itself, wholly owned by the government, has always cooperated with downsizing plans. Now the airport has responded, saying it is disappointed that the downturn has been postponed again. A statement from the airport said, “Reducing the number of flights was not a goal in itself, but there has finally become clarity for local residents.”
“Now there is more uncertainty again. It is time for local residents to experience significantly less inconvenience. The need to close Schiphol at night has become greater. This also applies to the ban on private flights and the ban on flights. Noisier planes.” The statement said.
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