Source: Schengen Visa Info
The government of the Netherlands may be facing legal action related to their recent decision to reduce the number of annual flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to 460,000 from November 2023, which is eight percent lower than the current flight cap.
In a statement released on Friday, March 3, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the global airline community have warned that they are preparing a legal challenge against this decision.
According to IATA, the Dutch government’s decision is in disagreement with the EU Regulation 598/2014 on noise-related operating restrictions at European Union airports and also disregards the Chicago Convention, which established that the reduction of flights should be used only as a means of last resort.
“Annex 16 of the Convention contains provisions for The Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management which states are obligated to follow when taking measures to manage the noise impacts of aviation,” IATA and the airlines say in their statement.
They further claim that the decision to cut capacity at Schiphol has failed to meet the requirement set by the EU and the Chicago Convention, noting that no meaningful consultation was undertaken with the industry before taking the decision, which was also taken as a first resort rather than a last resort.
The Director General of IATA, Willie Walsh, has accused the Dutch authorities of handicapping its economy by destroying connectivity through a job-destroying hostile approach to aviation.
According to him, the government has even refused to engage in meaningful consultations, instead reducing the number of flights without first working on the reduction of noise and emissions through other ways.
“The dangerous precedent that this illegal approach creates left no choice but to challenge them in court,” Director General Walsh said.
On Friday, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport had warned it would reduce flights from 500,000 to 460,000 flights per year, following a decision of the government to do so.
The airport leaders have, however, called upon the government to initiate a new Airport Traffic Decree, which would consist of perspectives for both local residents and airlines, as soon as possible.
The airport has been forced to reduce the number of flights several times last year due to the absence of staff to ensure security, following layoffs that happened at the beginning of the pandemic. The airport has closed a very poor 2022, with the Royal Schiphol Group, which is the owner and operator of three Dutch airports – the Amsterdam Airport, Rotterdam’s Hague Airport, and Lelystad Airport – having reported a loss of €28 million in 2022, in spite of a strong recovery in passenger traffic.
The group has also revealed that last year Amsterdam Airport Schiphol connected the country with 313 direct world destinations, 17 more than in 2021.