Court throws out Schiphol flight limit, says Dutch gov’t broke EU rules
Schiphol airport does not have to cut flight numbers from 500,000 to 460,000 later this year, as ordered by the government, judges in Amsterdam have ruled.
KLM and a number of other airlines and aviation bodies had gone to court to have the move ruled illegal, arguing the government had broken European rules.
The court agreed, saying that according to EU guidelines, a state can only reduce the number of aircraft movements at an airport after going through a careful process.
‘The state must identify various measures that can reduce noise pollution and consult all stakeholders,’ the court said. ‘A reduction in the number of aircraft movements is only allowed when it is clear that other noise mitigation measures do not work sufficiently well.’
The airlines say they are confident they can reduce noise levels and CO2 emissions ‘while maintaining a network of destinations for the millions of passengers and tonnes of cargo they carry annually to and from Schiphol’.
Schiphol, which is 100% state owned, had said it will accept the new limit this year and the further cut to 440,000 flights in 2024, but that it cannot rule out an expansion after that.
The case is not connected to the airport group’s own announcement on Tuesday that it is planning to end night flights in an effort to reduce noise nuisance for locals. Airlines have also criticised that move, saying it will lead to price rises for tickets and reduce holiday options.
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