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ACI Europe Objects Reduction of Flights at Schipol Airport

The association of airport operators, ACI Europe, has condemned the decision by the Dutch caretaker Government to reduce the capacity at Amsterdam Schiphol airport, also raising concerns about the conditions under which the capacity reduction movement will be implemented next summer.

According to a press release by the authority, the Dutch hub is expected to reduce its aircraft movement to 452,000 as of Winter 2024, while the aircraft movement reduction will also follow in the Summer of 2024, with the movements reaching a total of 460,000, reports.

The Director General of ACI Europe, Olivier Jankovec, considers the measure to be implemented by the Dutch airport as unacceptable. He agrees that the government has not considered thoroughly the measures it could implement to mitigate noise instead of requiring a capacity reduction.

“Indeed, the caretaker Dutch Government has not sufficiently considered proposed alternative measures that would have allowed the stated noise mitigation targets to be achieved without requiring a capacity reduction at Schiphol. Moreover, while the decision to temporarily reduce capacity as of Summer 2024 will provide much-needed legal certainty, it has been taken without conducting the Balanced Approach process,” Jankovec’s statement on ACI Europe’s official website reads.

According to him, these decisions are related to electoral purposes ahead of national elections, which are being made at the expense of the Dutch economy. He also called on the European Commission to immediately reinstate the respect of the Balance Approach principles within the states, accordingly to the EU laws.

ACI Europe is one of many bodies that have criticised the Dutch government’s decision not to be implemented during the mandate of a caretaker government.

According to IATA and other bodies, Schiphol should not be cutting off the number of flights operated as such a measure can evoke an international backlash.

“The government’s desire for a forced cut to Schiphol’s annual flight numbers to 460,000 under an ‘Experimental Regulation’ was initially blocked by the Dutch court, which found it to be contrary to Dutch obligations under EU law and bilateral air services agreements connected with the Balanced Approach to noise” the statement issued by IATA reads.

Last summer, the Dutch government announced its plans to reduce noise pollution by implementing a 20 per cent reduction in Schiphol Airport operations. In addition, the same was planning on introducing a maximum flight limit of 460,000 at Schiphol Airport this November and to later reduce it to a further 440,000 flights by the end of 2024.