One of Europe’s busiest airports is planning to reduce the number of flights it handles in an effort to combat carbon emissions.
Airline officials are happy about the move and are planning to sue to stop the action.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport will reduce its number of international flights from 500,000 to 460,000 by November. It will be reduced by another 20,000 flights by November 2024.
Aviation is estimated to contribute about 3 percent of the world’s planet-warming pollution. Many countries throughout Europe have made moves to limit or even ban some regional or short-haul flights to reduce carbon emissions, but the Dutch government’s move is the first that will impact international flights.
Five airlines have joined forces and plan to sue over the measures, including KLM, the Netherlands’ flagship airline, which accounts for more than 50 percent of the flights at Schiphol.
Others in the group include Delta, Corendon, easyJet, and Tui airlines.
The group believes the actions are “incomprehensible,” according to the Financial Times.
“We strongly object to capacity reductions at Schiphol Airport and remain actively focused on investing in our fleet renewal and modernization program as the most effective way forward to mitigate noise and environmental concerns,” Peter Carter, executive vice president of Delta, told Financial Times.
KLM officials said regulating international carriers should be regulated internationally and not by individual nations.
“KLM believes that sustainability policies, due to the global scope of aviation, should be regulated internationally as much as possible,” KLM officials told CNN. “Being the only country in the world to set up a national CO2-ceiling does not match with an internationally operating sector and international policy.”
Dutch officials are standing behind the policy.
“The policy will help the country meet its carbon goal,” the Dutch Transport Ministry said in a statement. “Further details remain to be decided, and the government promises that discussions will include all parties.”
The policy will reduce the number of flights at Schiphol by 8 percent this year, and another 4 percent next year.
The five airlines, however, are not accepting the decision as final, based on their planned legal action.
“The airlines have already made multi-billion euros investments to meet near- and long-term goals in line with their own decarbonization trajectories as well as government policies,” the group said in a statement. “While the government’s justification hinges on operational restrictions with no consideration of alternative workable solutions to effect noise reduction.”