New Amsterdam Schiphol Airport “Green” Flight Cap

New Amsterdam Schiphol Airport “Green” Flight Cap

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Environmentalism has become an increasingly important topic in the airline industry, especially as countries aim to reduce carbon emissions. This is particularly true in Europe, where we’ve seen everything from short haul flight bans, to proposals for huge increases in aviation taxes.

The Dutch government is taking a drastic permanent measure to reduce flights, and this is sure to be controversial.

Amsterdam Schiphol will get lower annual flight limit

The Dutch government has announced that the country will cut the maximum number of allowable annual flights at the country’s biggest aviation hub, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Specifically, the maximum number of annual flights will be cut from 500,000 to 440,000. The previous plan was for the airport to eventually have up to 540,000 flights per year, so this represents a roughly 20% reduction compared to that plan.

This change is expected to take effect in late 2023, though no exact date has been announced yet. This is being done to cut emissions of carbon and other pollutants (such as nitrogen oxide), and is also intended to reduce noise around the airport.

Here’s how Mark Harbers, the Infrastructure and Water Management Minister, describes this development:

“I want to offer certainty and perspective to both the aviation sector and local residents. This decision forms the basis for a new equilibrium. Unfortunately, it contains a difficult message for the aviation sector, which is still fully recovering from the drastic consequences of the corona pandemic.”

Of course Schiphol Airport has been in the news in recent weeks for its huge operational issues resulting from staff shortages. The airport is temporarily capping passengers this summer in order to cope with that. However, this latest announcement is unrelated to any pandemic limits.

Schiphol Airport is getting a lower flight cap

KLM responds to forced flight reductions

KLM is the largest airline at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, and unsurprisingly the airline isn’t happy about this announcement. In a response, KLM makes a lot of (what I’d consider to be) valid points:

  • This development has been announced without prior discussion with airports and airlines, and KLM hasn’t received any written notification or clear plan
  • KLM’s network connects the Netherlands with the world’s key economic centers, and this is important for the country to attract businesses and remain an important international trading center; the proposed cutbacks undermine KLM’s ability to continue to offer this
  • The global demand for mobility remains unchanged and continues to increase, so if people want to fly, they’ll simply opt for other (less efficient) routes to the same destination, and the environmental impact won’t be reduced
  • When it comes to noise, this decision would lead to the return of an old way of noise measurement based on a points system, and KLM argues that this will increase noise issues for people living near the airport, even with an increase in flights
KLM isn’t happy about having to reduce flights

Bottom line

The Dutch government is planning on permanently reducing the total number of flights that Schiphol Airport can accept annually from 500,000 to 440,000 annually. The decrease is potentially even bigger when you consider that the cap was eventually supposed to be increased to 540,000 flights.

While I can appreciate the need to take environmental measures, it seems that a flat cap on the number of annual flights isn’t the best way to go about this. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a system that incentivizes flying more efficient aircraft, investing in sustainable aviation fuel, etc.?

When it comes to environmental impact, not all flights are created equal, yet this policy attempts to suggest that they are.

What do you make of the Dutch government reducing flights at Schiphol Airport?

Conversations (38)
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  1. Max Guest

    The Premier Minister of the Netherlands is one of Klaus Schwab’s ‘WEF Young Globa Leaderl’ puppets.
    All of these puppets follow the ‘Great Reset’ agenda 2030.

    Under the cover of green policies, they are trying to establish some kind of neo-marxist-leninist digital totalitarianism with social credit/climate credit scores like in China and Central Bank issued Digital Currencies (CBDC) that give the government full control over your spending.

  2. David Guest

    What vanity, to think humans can control the climate and environment.

  3. visflyer Guest

    To comments referring to flying being “much cleaner than driving” this is simply not true. At best , they could be equal and largely carbon calculations of each are dependent on many factors.

    That said, flying is *generally* much worse for the environment.

    If anyone is interested in reading more, here’s a decent source; https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/09/evolving-climate-math-of-flying-vs-driving/

  4. glenn t Diamond

    I would suggest that this thought-bubble has not really been thought out at all, or it's just not been well articulated for the media always in search of a sensationalist story short on facts.
    Some other European airports (CDG?) propose banning intra-Europe flights which could easily done by train, with similar point-to-point total travel times.
    This could become a viable alternative with better rail infrastructure including many more hi-speed trains with better carriages,...

    I would suggest that this thought-bubble has not really been thought out at all, or it's just not been well articulated for the media always in search of a sensationalist story short on facts.
    Some other European airports (CDG?) propose banning intra-Europe flights which could easily done by train, with similar point-to-point total travel times.
    This could become a viable alternative with better rail infrastructure including many more hi-speed trains with better carriages, better timetables and better rail employee attitude.
    Despite popular perception, intra-Europe rail travel is not the marvel it was in the 1980's, and has not kept up with the times. To compete or be complimentary to the airlines there needs to be vast new investment from government. I really can't see this happening any time soon.

  5. Edwin Guest

    As someone who lives under the noise of Schiphol airport I can tell you that this is amazing news for my family and for so many other families. It’s easy for those commenting here to dismiss this an environmental bulls&it but in reality it’s a nightmare to live where I do. Recently Schiphol caused the municipality of amstelveen to cancel 4000 or more student housing due to the noise created by the Buitenveldertbaan. I live...

    As someone who lives under the noise of Schiphol airport I can tell you that this is amazing news for my family and for so many other families. It’s easy for those commenting here to dismiss this an environmental bulls&it but in reality it’s a nightmare to live where I do. Recently Schiphol caused the municipality of amstelveen to cancel 4000 or more student housing due to the noise created by the Buitenveldertbaan. I live in this area for about 11 years and the noise from Schiphol is becoming worse over time. You must realise that our day to day life is really badly hurt mainly with the airplanes starts which rattle the house. Life sucks living around Schiphol. I’m no environmental nut but my happiness level is just crushed by airplane noise. There needs to be a balance between huge business and some minimal dignity for people living nearby and that balance has been breached.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      It's even easier to ask: "What kind of dumbass moves next to an airport, that's been there for nearly 106yrs... then whines about noise?"

      But most of us are too polite to do so.

    2. Edwin Guest

      Your way of regretful communication tells a sad story about you.
      Seems like you are unable to register the reality that there is more than just your narrow way of thinking.
      The airport being there for 106 years doesn't mean it has god-like power and the well-being of everyone around it can be thrown into the trash bin. This is not Chernobyl where you just create an exclusion zone around it. All reasonable...

      Your way of regretful communication tells a sad story about you.
      Seems like you are unable to register the reality that there is more than just your narrow way of thinking.
      The airport being there for 106 years doesn't mean it has god-like power and the well-being of everyone around it can be thrown into the trash bin. This is not Chernobyl where you just create an exclusion zone around it. All reasonable people agree that a balance is needed.
      Finally the government has come to the same conclusion.

    3. Icarus Guest

      The Dutch government is intent on destroying it anyhow as it was once the crown jewel of airports. It’s definitely not one of the top airports anymore.

      It is responsible for billions of revenue, employing tens of thousands including families who are reliant on a member or sometimes more who works there or for one of the adjoining hotels.

      If you live near an airport don’t complain, just as you should...

      The Dutch government is intent on destroying it anyhow as it was once the crown jewel of airports. It’s definitely not one of the top airports anymore.

      It is responsible for billions of revenue, employing tens of thousands including families who are reliant on a member or sometimes more who works there or for one of the adjoining hotels.

      If you live near an airport don’t complain, just as you should complain of the noise of you decided to live in the centre on a busy city or by a railway line.

      If you’re unhappy, relocate.

    4. Edwin Guest

      You relocate. I’m not asking for your opinion about my life.
      You are so extreme in your thought process and don’t even take any consideration that a balance is the logical choice. An airport doesn’t need to have god-like power. People live around the airport and their lives matter too.

    5. XPL Diamond

      I used to live under the flight path of Stapleton airport back when it was in heavy use. It was noisy and I didn't like that, but I chose to live there because the rent was cheap (because, noise). We all make our choices.

  6. david Guest

    More ludicrous policies championed by the followers of the false god of climate change. There is no man made climate change - it's a false religion.

    This is going to cost workers their jobs and as people below have stated, leading to more carbon emissions.

    When will people wake up?

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      But yours is the other end of the stupidity extreme: abject denial.

      We as a species have lived to observe volcanoes pumping enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to cause a radical alteration in climate, over a limited area, for weeks/months/years.

      Prior to that, we know that both Yellowstone and the Siberian Traps have thrown entire hemispheres into nuclear-winter, when they've erupted.

      .....so if it happens in nature, why would it not result when human...

      But yours is the other end of the stupidity extreme: abject denial.

      We as a species have lived to observe volcanoes pumping enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to cause a radical alteration in climate, over a limited area, for weeks/months/years.

      Prior to that, we know that both Yellowstone and the Siberian Traps have thrown entire hemispheres into nuclear-winter, when they've erupted.

      .....so if it happens in nature, why would it not result when human output equals or exceeds those kinds of natural disruptions within a given timescale? Have you not asked yourself such a fundamental question?

    2. Airfarer Gold

      That well known climate scientist, Prince Charles, said in 2005 that we had one hundred months to save the planet.
      Fed up with our ecooverlords trying to get me to live in a cave.

  7. Onne Guest

    As someone from The Netherlands let me add something. Air France- KLM hasn't been profitable for ages. Dutch taxpayers are basically subsidising transfer passengers from other countries. Our Finance Minister is considered an ATM by the board of Air France.

    What KLM is also ignoring in her statement is that several studies show that Amsterdam Airport as mainport that attracts businesses is a myth. 440.000 flights is the size of Schiphol from 2014. Copenhagen...

    As someone from The Netherlands let me add something. Air France- KLM hasn't been profitable for ages. Dutch taxpayers are basically subsidising transfer passengers from other countries. Our Finance Minister is considered an ATM by the board of Air France.

    What KLM is also ignoring in her statement is that several studies show that Amsterdam Airport as mainport that attracts businesses is a myth. 440.000 flights is the size of Schiphol from 2014. Copenhagen has 260.000 flights per year pre-covid.

    80% of people on KLM flights only transfer at Schiphol. Airlines at Amsterdam Airport get a huge tax discount for transfer passengers. There is no longer any public support for it. Our government is quite conservative in its views, they are certainly not climate activists. They are just out of options and legally bound to act. It's very likely that from a legal perspective this will not even be enough (Schiphol has an environmental permit for a maximum number of 400.000 flight per year).

    As much as I love to fly and travel, it's not really sustainable to have an airport of that size for The Netherlands. We also have the highest livestock density in Europe, and as a result the Netherlands is not even close to comply with climate agreements and EU rules.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      EVERY hub airport requires a number of flights that have less benefit for the local market than other flights. It is a complete fallacy to think you (or anyone) can pluck off a certain amount of flights and expect to retain all of the "prime" longhaul flights that you want.
      That is true for London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris CDG and every other hub.
      It is completely inaccurate to think that the center of...

      EVERY hub airport requires a number of flights that have less benefit for the local market than other flights. It is a complete fallacy to think you (or anyone) can pluck off a certain amount of flights and expect to retain all of the "prime" longhaul flights that you want.
      That is true for London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris CDG and every other hub.
      It is completely inaccurate to think that the center of air traffic in Europe won't shift away from Amsterdam and it is also incorrect to think that companies won't leave if air service levels fall - which could easily happen if the economics of operating a hub at AMS don't work any longer.

      We have heard for years that KLM was the "half" of AF/KLM that made money and sense but the Dutch government has repeatedly injected money into the airline and just did so again when more stock was issued so the Dutch government's position wouldn't be diluted.

      If AF/KLM is really a drag on the Dutch taxpayer, they should simply stop injecting more money into the airline. Your statements are at odds w/ what they are actually doing. The Dutch government is being run by people that don't understand airline economics and want to believe they can have a smaller AMS and still be just as significant on the global stage.

      You Dutch can do what you think you need to do - but I will reiterate what I said before. The Dutch have repeatedly miscalculated major business decisions and it has cost them - and I fear that KLM will be yet another victim - just like the city that used to be called New Amsterdam, Shell Oil, and multiple investments by Dutch traders around the world.

      Some mistakes are permanent. The world moves on. Others take your place.

    2. Icarus Guest

      Air France carries far more point to point traffic. France is a significantly larger country with a huge economy and massive tourist industry

      CDG is also now a much better airport than in years gone by, in a less populated area, more space as it’s the largest in Europe at 34 square kms with 4 parallel runways and not affected by the same restrictions as Amsterdam, which always suffers from bad weather. It may...

      Air France carries far more point to point traffic. France is a significantly larger country with a huge economy and massive tourist industry

      CDG is also now a much better airport than in years gone by, in a less populated area, more space as it’s the largest in Europe at 34 square kms with 4 parallel runways and not affected by the same restrictions as Amsterdam, which always suffers from bad weather. It may have 6 runways however they are all restricted. And what morons decided to do runway maintenance at the start of the Easter break when they had two years during the covid crisis.

  8. Bob Guest

    First it is restricting flights to go green.

    Next it is restricting auto miles per year if you do not own an EV.

  9. Airfarer Gold

    Sometimes the decisions taken in pursuit of green ecomentalism are breathtaking in their lack of knowledge of how things work in the real world.
    So assuming they need to cut flights, and that they'd prefer to keep their long-haul traffic, they will then reduce the shorter flights that provide the feed for those flights.
    You can't make this stuff up.

  10. Andrew Guest

    This is a terrible way to achieve their goal. If they raise taxes on Aviation fuel, flight fees and arrival charges and raise the wages of airport workers they would achieve the same goal but they would get some revenue for it. This will eliminate connecting flights the direct flights will continue and the connecting flights will just move to nearby airports. If they want to be environmentally friendly they can eliminate cargo flights, nest...

    This is a terrible way to achieve their goal. If they raise taxes on Aviation fuel, flight fees and arrival charges and raise the wages of airport workers they would achieve the same goal but they would get some revenue for it. This will eliminate connecting flights the direct flights will continue and the connecting flights will just move to nearby airports. If they want to be environmentally friendly they can eliminate cargo flights, nest day shipping of non critical items is a tremendous waste of fuel, exempting critical parts, medical cargo and perishable items.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Those are about the DUMBEST things they could possibly do, while expecting to have any semblance of business. Where do you people come up with this?! lol

  11. Rav Guest

    It sure seems to me that Schipol Airport is trying to cover it's arse. The airport does not now seem capable of handling full recovery. As for emissions, travel by air is cleaner than driving by far & as the say "time Is money".

  12. Ross Guest

    KLM has 8 flights a day from Amsterdam to Paris, a trip that takes 3 hours by train. If people want to fly, they can be educated.

    1. Icarus Guest

      The vast majority are connecting traffic. There’s no synergy between the rail and air at schiphol unlike at cdg. Also going on an aviation / travel blog making such comments is ignorant.
      3 hrs by train versus 1 by air

    2. XPL Diamond

      "If people want to fly, they can be educated."

      In re-education camps, presumably.

    3. Tulipan Guest

      Have you checked the prices of Thalys? Prices are only competitive when booked months in advance. If you book with 2-3 month period it’s cheaper to book a flight.

  13. Evi Guest

    A significant factor in this decision is that the airport is huge for the country that it serves. Almost 80% of KLM seats are filled with transfer passengers, who do not add much value for The Netherlands. And with the airport located in a dense population center, many have questioned if that is worth the impact the airport has on people and environment.

    And given that KLM still operates numerous flights that seem to be...

    A significant factor in this decision is that the airport is huge for the country that it serves. Almost 80% of KLM seats are filled with transfer passengers, who do not add much value for The Netherlands. And with the airport located in a dense population center, many have questioned if that is worth the impact the airport has on people and environment.

    And given that KLM still operates numerous flights that seem to be there just to hold on to slots (for example to Brussels, which even has a high speed rail connection directly from the airport in 1.5 hours), they'll probably not have problems reducing operations a bit. If not, then there are many destinations with 4+ Embraer flights per day that can be consolidated onto larger aircraft.

  14. AdamH Gold

    The irony here is that from a green perspective the physical location of AMS makes way more sense as a hub than where the displaced passengers will end up having to connect for transatlantic flights, thus burning more fuel and creating more carbon.

  15. Tim Dunn Diamond

    The Dutch have a long history of seeing great business opportunities only to lose the focus and have another country take the lead.
    Witness New Amsterdam, the Dutch presence in Africa, and most recently, Shell Oil.
    Here is hoping that Air France can help balance what KLM will lose but, if not, more businesses will move out of The Netherlands.

    1. Danny Koppers Guest

      The Dutch are also realistic and see when the time for something is up and focus on innovation, not on good old shell oil. The Dutch will be fine. And have always been fine.

  16. Dick Bupkiss Guest

    Fewer flight slots, increasing demand. Solution: Fly larger aircraft.

    Does KLM have any A380s that have been mothballed? Maybe they can shop around and pick up a few that have been parked for a while.

    If they're good enough for Lufthansa...

    1. Kiwi Guest

      That would work with Point-to-point traffic but not with a highly banked transfer hub traffic like in Amsterdam. The traffic will simply pick a different more efficient airline and connect somewhere else such as FRA LHR MAD CDG

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      You seem to have totally missed the reasons why the A380 failed in the first place.... most notably in that its capacity isn't enough to alleviate backup to any significant degree, while it size was enough to require expensive infrastructure changes that put off most potential operators.

      It's also the reason why there's nil secondhand market for them, and why so many A380s have gone to scrap at less than 13-yrs-old. Nothing in this situation changes that.

  17. RetiredATLATC Diamond

    Less flights, higher ticket prices.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Brilliant.

      All you're doing, is fucking over working folks (the moneyed will fly regardless), who will then now opt to use a long distance car drive, which has a 57%* higher energy-intensity and outputs 20%* more greenhouse emissions per seat kilometer than a full 737 or A320.

      Ergo, did you put the SLIGHTEST bit of thought into that?

      Though, I'll admit, it's the exact reactionary type of thing that governments LOVE to do.

      ...

      Brilliant.

      All you're doing, is fucking over working folks (the moneyed will fly regardless), who will then now opt to use a long distance car drive, which has a 57%* higher energy-intensity and outputs 20%* more greenhouse emissions per seat kilometer than a full 737 or A320.

      Ergo, did you put the SLIGHTEST bit of thought into that?

      Though, I'll admit, it's the exact reactionary type of thing that governments LOVE to do.

      *https://youmatter.world/en/plane-or-cars-which-means-of-transport-pollutes-the-most/

    2. John Guest

      @ConcordePerson

      Wash your potty mouth, young lady! Comments have been forceful, but no one except YOU has used the F**** word.
      Control your temper. Mind your language. Grow up.
      Then you may re-join the adults in 'big people' talk. OK?

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      ^ THIS is the limit of your wit? ....seriously?

    4. John Guest

      @ConcordePerson

      But you responded. LOL. Seriously!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

ConcordeBoy Diamond

It's even easier to ask: "What kind of dumbass moves next to an airport, that's been there for nearly 106yrs... then whines about noise?" But most of us are too polite to do so.

5
Icarus Guest

The vast majority are connecting traffic. There’s no synergy between the rail and air at schiphol unlike at cdg. Also going on an aviation / travel blog making such comments is ignorant. 3 hrs by train versus 1 by air

5
Tim Dunn Diamond

The Dutch have a long history of seeing great business opportunities only to lose the focus and have another country take the lead. Witness New Amsterdam, the Dutch presence in Africa, and most recently, Shell Oil. Here is hoping that Air France can help balance what KLM will lose but, if not, more businesses will move out of The Netherlands.

4
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