KLM claim capacity reduction will damage the Netherlands

A KLM 787 Dreamliner rotates at takeoff.
Photo Credit: KLM

KLM have hit back at the Dutch government claiming that plans for capacity reduction will directly damage the Netherlands.

The Dutch carrier has deemed plans for restricting Schiphol’s number of aircraft movements as “unnecessary” and “incomprehensible”.

Cabinet announces capacity reduction for Schiphol

A statement released by the airline clearly directs their frustration: “Unfortunately, today the Dutch cabinet announced the government’s intention to drastically cut the number of flights operating at the Dutch airport Schiphol. In so doing, the minister is opting to focus one-sidedly on capacity reduction as a goal in itself. We find this incomprehensible.”

“This is not about the number of flight movements but about reducing noise. The noise targets can be achieved in a better way that would really benefit local residents, the climate, airlines and the Dutch economy.”

The KLM Cityhopper Embraer E2 jet in flight above clouds.
Photo Credit: Embraer

For the past few years, KLM has been working hard towards a “cleaner, quieter and more efficient” plan. The aim of this is to, maintain current capacity, and deliver a lesser impact on the air and environment. It’s desire was to ensure this would achieve what the Dutch government wanted and help maintain capacity. Sadly it seems this has not provided enough assurance for the cabinet.

KLM’s own proposals at odds

Speaking back in June, KLM had already raised their concerns: “The minister’s plan focuses on drastically reducing the number of flights to achieve these targets as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this proposal also has many drawbacks. In its current form, the minister’s plan does not revolve around renewal and improvement. No distinction is drawn between newer and older aircraft, which are less clean and less silent. The plan also fails to consider that drastic cutbacks in flights will have an impact on national assets.”

Quieter and Cleaner:

A snippet from the plan proposed by KLM here provides more context and the intended benefits: “By acquiring new, quieter aircraft, introducing smarter operational processes and by – as far as possible – deploying the quietest aircraft at night, our plan will achieve the night-time targets immediately and, after only three years, will deliver even more to local residents throughout the day and night. Innovation in the airline industry will enable us to fly cleaner, quieter and more efficient aircraft worldwide”

Comments from the CEO of KLM

KLM’s CEO Marjan Rintel has directly commented on the situation in addition to the company announcements: “We are proud of KLM’s contribution to the accessibility of the Netherlands, serving close to 170 direct destinations worldwide from our Schiphol hub.”

“We satisfy the needs of millions of people wanting to discover places around the world – to conduct business, to reunite families and to transport critical cargo. We hope to continue doing so in balance with the local surroundings. Minister Harbers asked us to reduce noise by 20%.”

IATA Welcomes Schiphol's Halt of Flight Cuts
Photo Credit: Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

Marjan Rintel continues: “To this end, we submitted the cleaner, quieter and more efficient plan. In it, we show that we can achieve the noise reduction targets while maintaining the current number of flight movements, maintaining the connection between the Netherlands as a trading nation and the rest of the world. Nonetheless, the minister remains fixated on capacity reductions.”

“It is hard to imagine such a drastic decision being taken by an outgoing government, while the Dutch House of Representatives is set to vote on 12 September about which files are to be declared controversial. As an outgoing minister, you don’t mind the shop by closing it!”

With the perceived impact so high it seems unlikely this will be either side’s last word on the matter. We’ll keep you up to date with all the news as we hear it.

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Alex Barrett 5 Min Read
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