Dutch government set to press ahead with Schiphol flight caps

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AMSTERDAM, Sept 1 (Reuters) – The Dutch government is set to press ahead with plans to cap the number of flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport next year, pending a decision at a cabinet meeting on Friday, the transport ministry said.

Airlines that use Schiphol including Air France-KLM  have sued to prevent a flight cap at Schiphol, one of Europe’s busiest airports, of 460,000 per year, 8% below 2019 levels, saying it would harm business and violate previous agreements.

The government’s main reason for the cap is to address noise pollution, but it has also cited the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as recurring logistical problems at the airport.

A transport ministry spokesperson said some details of the plan had not been finalised. If the cabinet approves a plan on Friday, the government will then inform the European Commission, which must approve or reject it within three months.

Airlines opposed to the ban are appealing to the Dutch Supreme Court after losing an appeal in July.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which supports the airlines’ case, on Thursday told the Dutch caretaker government not to proceed ahead of a national election in November.

“In a few months’ time, this government will not be accountable for the severe consequences that may follow from the Schiphol decision, particularly with respect to relations with the Netherlands’ trading partners, and lost jobs and prosperity at home,” IATA said in a statement.

Separately, the transport ministry spokesperson confirmed a report in newspaper De Telegraaf on Friday that the U.S. Department of Transport had sent a letter airing concerns about the cap.

The spokesperson could not confirm contents of the letter, which De Telegraaf reported included a warning that a cap would jeopardize current agreements between the countries on landing slots.

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