The reduction of operations at Schiphol Airport complicates the recovery in Europe

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The reduction of operations at Schiphol Airport complicates the recovery in Europe
Source: Twitter @Schiphol
June 27, 2022

IATA repudiated the government's decision and called for establishing a meaningful path for growth

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed surprise at the Dutch government's announcement to reduce the number of annual flights at Schiphol Airport to 440,000, a 20% cut from Schiphol's potential limit.

“This sudden decision is a severe blow to aviation, employment and the economy of the Netherlands. It is added to a tripling of the passenger tax and a 37% increase in airport fees. We are witnessing an air connectivity bottleneck that has been steadily developing for 100 years and has supported much of the Dutch economy and the aspirations of millions of Dutch travellers,” said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.

The rationale presented for the cut is not supported by facts. The government claims that the cuts will reduce noise and lead to a significant reduction in NOx emissions. But the NOx contribution from aviation is around 1% of the total NOx deposition in the Netherlands, and the redistributed noise pathways that are also part of this initiative will actually increase the number of people exposed to aircraft noise. planes.

Before the pandemic, aviation generated more than 300,000 jobs and a GDP of €22 billion for the Dutch economy [1] . Key to this economic contribution was connectivity driven by the role of Schiphol's global hub airport. In 2019, Amsterdam was the third best-connected European city internationally, behind only London and Paris [2] .

“When governments closed aviation in the pandemic, we all saw the terrible impact it had on the people of the Netherlands and its economy. Schiphol's downsizing will permanently destroy jobs that are only now being brought back. Furthermore, without the chance to grow at Schiphol, Dutch companies will need to assess their future in an economy that will transform from a global gateway to a regional hub,” said Walsh.

Schiphol has been recovering quickly since the end of the pandemic restrictions. The airport has already had more than 280,000 movements this year, putting it on track to reach its current limit of 500,000 movements. The previous Dutch government, recognizing the economic importance of Schiphol's central connections, set a path for Schiphol to grow to 540,000 movements. The sudden announcement of a cut to 440,000 movements thus constitutes a 20% cut to the airport's potential connectivity.

As for sustainable aviation, the industry has committed to achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Achieving this challenging goal will require major investment in sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and cleaner, quieter aircraft. KLM's commitment to SAF, for example, directly encourages suppliers to increase production. But these investments can only be maximized if operators operate in a stable regulatory business environment. Overnight changes to the rules of the game by governments are counterproductive to investment in a more sustainable industry, nor do they create any environmental gains when passengers willing to fly will travel to alternative airports to do so.

“After two years of restrictions, the world is moving again. Schiphol has been struggling to cope with demand, which shows the importance of the airport, not only for Dutch travelers, but as a strategic hub for the Netherlands. This crazy decision to cut the airport at the knees will not achieve any of the stated environmental goals, but it will do irreparable damage to jobs and prosperity. The government must reverse course and establish a meaningful path for the sustainable growth of aviation in the Netherlands, focused on offering sustainable aviation fuels and helping the industry meet its commitment to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.” Walsh said.


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