Flight shame? More travellers are using Dutch airports

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

A record 81 million passengers flew in and out of the five Dutch airports last year, a rise of 2% on 2019, according to figures from national statistics agency CBS.

Almost nine in 10 passengers used Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, up 1% on the previous year. Eelde airport near Groningen was the only one not to experience any growth.

Although passenger numbers increased, the number of flights to and from Schiphol actually fell slightly to 497,000. Flight numbers at the Amsterdam airport have been capped at 500,000 up to and including 2020.

The most popular destination and origin for flights was London Heathrow and some 1.75 million people travelled between the Netherlands and the English capital. Second on the list was El Prat near Barcelona. Dublin, Charles de Gaulle near Paris and Madrid Barajas completed the top five.

The growth comes amid calls for more curbs on air travel from political and environmental groups. And earlier this month a government advisory committee said aviation in the Netherlands should only be allowed to expand if measures are taken to reduce nitrogen compound pollution.

The committee, set up to recommend ways to cut pollution in the wake of a Council of State ruling last May, said in its report it would only be fair if the aviation industry did its share to reduce emissions in line with other sectors.


International trains are also providing more competition for air travel. Dutch railway company NS said in December it had sold 13% more tickets for international trains in 2019, taking four million passengers to a foreign destination.

In particular, the arrival of a direct link to Marne-la-Vallee near Disneyland has proved a boost, NS said. The number of passengers travelling to Bordeaux, Milan and even Barcelona by train rose 61%, 56% and 31% respectively.

NS and Eurostar have also said they plan to launch more services between Amsterdam and London, so that train travel can better compete with short-haul flights.

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