KLM NV and several other airlines are going to court to challenge the Dutch government’s decision to reduce flight capacity at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
Delta Air Lines Inc and EasyJet Plc are among airlines joining forces with the Dutch arm of Air France-KLM, which accounts for close to 60% of traffic at Schiphol, to “safeguard the future capacity” of the airport, according to a joint statement published on Friday.
The Dutch government announced last year it is planning cut the Amsterdam hub’s flight capacity in a bid to reduce noise pollution. The cabinet will impose a limit of 460,000 flights this year with the ultimate goal of reducing the capacity to 440,000 by 2024.
The brewing confrontation comes amid increasingly tense relationship between airports and airlines. Last year, traffic across hubs in Europe endured chaotic weeks of disruption because of a lack of ground personnel, forcing airlines to cut capacity. KLM said earlier this month that operations last year were held back as a result of the disruptions at Schiphol.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport lost €28 million last year despite what it called a strong recovery in traffic, and the hub’s efforts to mitigate the chaos led to additional costs of about €120 million, it said.
KLM said the government’s decision to cut back operations is “unnecessary” and violates national, European and international legislation. Last month, Air France-KLM’s Chief Executive Officer Ben Smith warned limiting capacity at Schiphol would hurt the Dutch economy.
The capacity limits are meant to “restore the legal position of local residents,” the Dutch government said Friday in a statement.
International Air Transport Association is also joining the legal action, it said in a separate statement.
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