AviationEurope-Asia connectivity threatened by massive flight reduction that aims to tackle carbon emissions.

Shrinking Schiphol: Amsterdam airport told to cut 60,000 flights

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Amsterdam is a key hub airport for flights to Asia ex-Europe.
Amsterdam is a key hub airport for flights to Asia ex-Europe. Photo Credit: GettyImages/Nisangha

The Dutch government has come up with a controversial proposal to combat air and noise pollution: It wants flights to be reduced at Amsterdam Schiphol – Europe’s third largest airport after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle – by more than 10%.

Aviation authorities have reacted strongly to the move, with Willie Walsh, director general of IATA, calling it a “crazy decision”.

In a world first, the Dutch government wants to reduce flights from 500,000 to 440,000 annually from 2023 to cut carbon emissions.

Industry leaders, who have been championing sustainability targets, said the move will damage the Dutch economy.

ACI Europe president Javier Marin went as far as warning against governments caving in to “climate populism”.

IATA’s Walsh added: “This crazy decision to cut the airport off at its knees will achieve none of the stated environmental aims, but it will cause irreparable harm to jobs and prosperity. The government should reverse course.”

There is little doubt that Amsterdam Schiphol has been under pressure as travel in Europe returns to pre-pandemic levels. The volume of passengers at Schiphol in July is expected to exceed by 1,000 passengers a day the maximum allowed security capacity.

Dutch flag carrier KLM says the decision to cut back operations at Schiphol will have “dramatic consequences” for the airline and for the accessibility of the Netherlands.

The cuts will also be a concern for destinations in Asia such as Phuket and Bali which are popular with European travellers. Amsterdam is a key hub airport for flights to Asia ex-Europe.

ACI Europe’s Airport Industry Connectivity Report 2022 has Amsterdam Airport Schiphol ranking as number one in Europe in terms of direct air connectivity, and number three (behind Frankfurt and Istanbul) for hub connectivity levels.

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