Dutch Court Ruling Approves Government Capping Flights at AMS to Reduce Noise

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Sounds like trouble for aviation at one of Europe's busiest airports.

A court in the Netherlands has quashed the air industry's objections to the Dutch government capping flights at Schiphol Airport to reduce noise.

In a reversal of an APR decision by a lower court, the new ruling will let the government reduce flights from half a million take-offs and landings to 460,000 in NOV 2023 - and all the way down to 440,000 next year, reports Business Travel News. That's a reduction of over 10 per cent of current levels.

Local KLM, joined by Delta Air Lines, sued the Dutch government to stop the flight reductions. IATA, along with other airilnes, including Air Canada, United, British Airways, Lufthansa and JetBlue "also had sought to stop the reduction in flights."

The earlier, APR, ruling in their favour cited European law that would require parties to consider other ways to reduce noise. The latest decision overturned that decision.

IATA and a number of airlines have issued statements disagreeing with the new court ruling that will allow reductions to go ahead.

IATA is seeking "clarity" from the Dutch government. "The full impact of this decision on the planned capacity cuts is unclear and there are no established international processes for such a retrograde exercise. We also urge the European Commission to defend its laws and air service agreements. And most importantly, we continue to ask the Dutch government to revert to the Balanced Approach, which is the most effective and only internationally accepted means of dealing with the noise concerns of the local community," said director general Willie Walsh in a statement.

KLM said it was "disappointed" in the judgment, pointing out that it had submitted a plan for "cleaner, quieter, more fuel-efficient flight operations" on 15JUN that it says it's "convinced" would reduce noise (as well as emissions) while maintaining its full schedule and network.

Partner Delta said it was considering its options even as "our commitment to sustainability and noise reduction remains. We will continue to prioritize investments in more fuel-efficient and quieter aircraft."

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