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