State to appeal against Schiphol ruling which is ‘not in residents’ interests’

Photo: Brandon Hartley
Photo: Brandon Hartley

Infrastructure minister Mark Harbers is to appeal against last week’s court decision which said the government was wrong to order Schiphol to reduce the number of takeoffs and landings by 40,000 this year, and a further 20,000 in 2024.

Harbers told MPs on Tuesday that he will appeal on the grounds that the ruling is not in the interest of local residents.

A number of airlines took the Dutch state and Schiphol to court, arguing that officials had not gone through the required ‘careful process’ before making the order.

The court agreed, saying that according to EU guidelines, a state can only reduce the number of aircraft movements at an airport if the interests of all stakeholders have been properly taken into account in a balanced way.

Harbers did not go into detail about the appeal in his briefing but did say that the court ruling is not in the interests of local residents, because it does not restore their legal position.

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 a week ago 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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