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Schiphol Airport U-turns on plan to cut 40,000 flights per year

The Dutch airport, which acts as a European hub for international connecting flights, has cracked under pressure from the US and other neighbouring EU countries.

Earlier this week, the Dutch government announced that its largest and busiest airport will temporarily abandon plans to reduce the number of flights it allows to land yearly by at least 40,000.

Schiphol Airport, located in the capital city of Amsterdam, is a major European hub for international travel and sees around 500,000 planes land on its runways each year.

However, many local residents living south of the airport have complained that constant noise pollution from planes taking off and landing is diminishing their quality of life.

The decision to scrap the plan, which was due to come into effect in winter of 2024, comes after pushback from US authorities who called the incoming reduction in flights ‘unjust, discriminatory and anti-competitive for airlines.’

Representatives from the Dutch airline KLM have also said that cancelling the plan will be important for maintaining flights to America, while preventing retaliation from other countries who may see the cuts as a reason to sever ties with the Amsterdam airport.

Meanwhile, policymakers in the Netherlands’ pointed out that European law and aviation agreements posed another obstacle to successfully scrapping a large number of flights. To investigate this further, the Supreme Court will announce a ruling in mid-2024.


Members of environmental organisations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have labelled the decision as a shocking setback.

Considering the number one way to tackle the climate crisis is to reduce the use of fossil fuels globally, slashing flights around the world would be a great way to help reach this goal.

Air travel accounts for 2 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions annually and 7 percent of total carbon emissions produced by the Netherlands.

The Dutch nation has already made significant steps towards reaching net zero, including launching a €1.5 billion scheme to buy out local livestock farmers in order to prevent two especially potent planet-warming gases – nitrous oxide and methane – from entering the atmosphere.

Combined with this approach, fewer flights from Schiphol would enable the Netherlands to take a huge leap towards decreasing its carbon emissions and getting closer to its 2030 green targets.

We’ll have to see whether the plan is allowed to go ahead once the Supreme Court analyses the aviation laws next year.