The increase in flight capacity at Schiphol for the summer comes as the Dutch government ended its controversial plans to reduce flights to tackle noise pollution.
Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, one of the busiest aviation hubs in Europe, announced Thursday that it is expanding flight capacity for the summer travel season.
The airport said Thursday it will provide 293,000 flights from March 31 to October 26, an increase from the 280,000 flights it had previously announced.
Schiphol’s announcement comes as the Dutch government decided to halt its controversial plans to implement flight caps to curb noise pollution after facing pressure from the U.S. government and the European Commission.
For 2024, the airport said it will be able to accommodate 483,000 flights, meaning that the airport will no longer cut flight capacity to 460,000. In the original flight cuts plan, Schiphol aimed to reduce capacity to as low as 450,000 flights a year, a 10% decrease from 2019 levels.
“At the request of the minister, we reviewed what was operationally possible after the experimental scheme was taken off the table,” Patricia Vitalis, executive director of operations at Royal Schiphol Group, said in a statement.
The initiative to reduce flight capacity at Schiphol faced criticism from major airlines, some of which had filed a lawsuit to stop the cuts.
JetBlue, which added flights to Amsterdam from New York and Boston in August, risked losing its slots at Schiphol in summer 2024 due to the flight caps. The carrier lobbied the U.S. Department of Transportation to ban Dutch carrier KLM from New York’s JFK in response.
Airlines for America, the trade group that represents the major U.S. airlines, also filed a complaint with the U.S. DOT about the Dutch government’s plans.
Those efforts ultimately worked. The U.S. DOT began to look into whether the Dutch government’s flight cuts violated the Open Skies agreement with the E.U. The European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said the measures were “not in compliance with European regulations.”
Infrastructure Minister Mark Habers wrote to the lower chamber Dutch Parliament in November that the flight caps would “isolate” the Netherlands.
While Schiphol is ultimately increasing overall flight capacity, the airport also said it would slightly reduce capacity during peak hours to ease the boarding process.
“The analysis in recent weeks made it clear that the peak in the morning, when a lot of large aircraft carrying many passengers arrive simultaneously, can lead to problems in the entire process, including long lines,” Schiphol said in a statement.
During the morning peaks, capacity will be lowered from 68 arrivals to 65 arrivals per hour.
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