The Dutch government announced Friday that it will reduce the number of flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport from the current 500,000 to 452,000 next year, a lower figure than previously announced, and that private jets and nighttime air traffic will not be banned for the time being.
The executive today presented its plan for the main Dutch airfield to the European Commission, explaining that the measures are aimed at “reducing noise nuisance at Schiphol from next year”.
“Aviation and airlines bring many wonderful things to the Netherlands, as long as attention is paid to the negative effects on people living around the airport,” said acting infrastructure minister Mark Harbers.
The final package sent to Brussels includes the use of less noisy aircraft at night (between 23:00 and 07:00 local time), further reducing runway use, and limiting the number of night flights to 28,700 movements (there was a maximum of 32,000) and overall air movements to 452,500 flights (there was a maximum of 500,000).
Airport capacity must be reduced under the ‘balanced approach’ principle, says Dutch government
As a European country, if you want to reduce airport capacity, you have to go through a so-called “balanced approach” procedure and the Netherlands is the first country to carry out this procedure on this scale, which must be reported to Brussels before it is implemented.
“Part of this procedure is a consultation phase, where all interested parties can comment on the proposed plans. Many responses have been received from airlines, Schiphol, local residents and environmental organisations. All have been weighed up and assessed for their effect and feasibility,” says the executive.
The proposed package, the Dutch government promises, involves a noise reduction of about 15 % during the day and 15 % at night, although “measures still need to be taken to reduce the remaining 5 %” necessary to reach the overall target of reducing total noise pollution by 20 %.
Partial night-time closure
The government is examining a plan proposed by Schiphol for partial night-time closure, which could allow the remaining 5% to be achieved.
In a response, the airfield said the announced plan “offers more certainty and clarity for local residents, airlines and Schiphol” and said it hoped to see some of its proposals, such as night closures, exclusion of private aircraft and the noisiest planes, in the package.
The Dutch daily De Telegraaf today, ahead of the Council of Ministers meeting, noted US discontent over plans to shrink Schiphol and claimed that Washington is threatening sanctions against Dutch airline KLM if the number of international flights allowed at Amsterdam is reduced.
“We take all reactions seriously. There are big interests that are also against us. I know they don’t like this in the US, but this situation is also vulnerable for Schiphol,” admitted Minister Harbers.