Sunday 18 August 2019

MPs call for fewer night flights at Schiphol, some back a total ban

A plane landing at dusk. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch MPs are calling for a reduction in the number of night flights to and from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, and some are calling for a total ban, RTL Nieuws said on Thursday.

MPs are due to debate the aviation sector with transport minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen later in the day, following the publication of new recommendations for the industry last week.

In that publication, the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure said ministers should ensure the aviation sector is set clear limits in terms of airport noise, other nuisance, pollutants and safety.

In particular, it recommended bringing in lower limits on the number of night flights, which, the council said, damage the health of people living close to airports.

Currently there are some 32,000 night-time take-offs and landings at Schiphol, but their number has been increasing. ‘The night is filling up,’ ChristenUnie MP Eppo Bruins said. ‘Fewer night flights would be a sensible target.’

Total ban

The Liberal democratic party D66, which is part of the current coalition, says it supports a total ban, in line with the situation at Frankfurt, London Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle in Paris.

Most night flights involve cargo planes and cheap holiday flights, so a ban would not impact on KLM, D66 parliamentarian Jan Paternotte said.

GroenLinks also backs a total ban on flying at night.

Lelystad

However, the ruling right-wing Liberal party VVD says decisions first need to be taken about Lelystad airport, which the government wants to open to commercial traffic next year, despite local objections.

‘Scrapping night flights is an option, but you have to look wider, because that could lead to more pressure during the day,’ MP Remco Dijkstra told RTL.

However, KLM said last year that a ban on night flights would threaten its charter airline Transavia which flies to many Mediterranean destinations in the early hours.

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