The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed the decision of the halting of Schiphol Airport’s flight cuts.
The aviation body stated that this will be a “reprieve” for passengers, airlines, and the Dutch economy.
It was previously revealed that the airport’s flight limit was going to be cut to 460,000 from November 2023.
IATA’s Willie Walsh: “We Welcome the Judge’s Decision”…
Welcoming the decision was IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, who said:
“We welcome the judge’s decision. This case has been about upholding the law and international obligations.”
“The judge understood that the Dutch government violated its obligations in shortcutting processes that would bring scrutiny to its desire to cut flight numbers at Schiphol.”
“This decision gives vital stability for this year to the airlines using Schiphol airport and maintains the choice and connectivity passengers value.”
“Winning this vital reprieve is good news for Schiphol’s passengers, Dutch businesses, the Dutch economy, and airlines.”
“But the job is not done. The threat of flight cuts at Schiphol remains very real and is still the stated policy of the government.”
“Schiphol Airport themselves yesterday announced night flight cuts without consultation. Airlines understand the importance of resolving issues such as noise.”
“The Balanced Approach is the correct, EU and global legally-enshrined process for managing noise impacts. It has helped airports around the world successfully address this issue.”
Schiphol Reduction To 440,000 Had No Legal Basis…
In a lengthy statement released by IATA this week, they also said the following on the flight cap:
“The Dutch government has recently decided to reduce the number of flight movements at Schiphol from 500,000 to 440,000 per year.”
“We believed no legal basis existed for this reduction: it violates international treaties and European regulations.”
“Governments can lower the number of flight movements in order to reduce noise, but only after having a careful process, consisting of, e.g., assessing the current noise level, setting a noise goal, and considering alternative measures.”
“This did not occur.”
“The 440,000 cap is not a means to an end but an objective.”
“The Dutch government also sought to accelerate the implementation of this reduction by introducing an experimental regulation with an interim cap of 460,000 flight movements from 1 November 2023.”
“We believed this interim cap is also subject to – and therefore in violation of – international treaties and European regulations.”
“IATA and airlines that fly into Schiphol sought to halt the application of this experimental regulation. KLM and other carriers based at Schiphol have launched a similar legal action.”
“The carriers that joined IATA’s action were: Air Canada, United Airlines, FedEx, JetBlue, British Airways, Vueling, Lufthansa, and Airlines for America.”
It remains clear that given the high level of drama, the airport has been subjected to over the last 12 months, this will be welcome news for Schiphol Airport.
Looking ahead, it’s going to be interesting to see how much further the Dutch Government wants to go with its environmental targets.
However, it is also the sad reality of establishing a mix between being more environmentally safe and also ensuring that economic value isn’t damaged as a result.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this all pans out moving forward, and IATA will no doubt continue to apply pressure on governments if this continues in Schiphol.