Schiphol Airport (AMS) has announced plans to reduce the number of flights leaving the airport, expecting to take effect in April 2024. The airport’s annual capacity limit is 500,000 flights, which will decrease to 460,000 next year. A maximum of 280,645 flights will arrive and depart from Schiphol in the 2024 summer season – about 12,400 less than last year.
Noise Pollution at Schiphol
From November 2017 to October 2019, the noise standard was exceeded by incoming and departing planes. Residents in Uithoorn, Haarlemmermeer, Aalsmeer, and Amstelveen found themselves near the excessive noise and were encouraged to file complaints. Following an investigation by the Dutch government, around 4,600 street addresses were affected by the excessive noise. Issues ranged from property devaluation to hearing loss. Compensation of 50 – 2,200 euros was arranged depending on severity.
Since 1993, the government has monitored noise pollution levels around Kiphol and introduced several measures to reduce it for nearby residents. Thus far, fewer runways will be used at night, and sound ridges have been installed on the Polderbaan extension to reduce noise in the Hoofddorp-Noord area.
Earlier Attempts To Limit Passengers Were Blocked
Earlier this year, the Dutch Government attempted to decrease the airport’s capacity limit to reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution. If successful, Schiphol’s capacity would have implemented the 460,000 limit by November 2023. Further limits would bring the total airport capacity to 440,000 annually in the 2024 /2025 season.
However, this proposal was challenged by IATA, KLM, and other airlines, who brought the Dutch government to court. Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the airlines, declaring that the government failed to conduct sufficient checks and assessments before properly implementing the regulation.
Proposed Tax Increase As Schiphol Airport Reduces Flight Numbers
In June, the Dutch Government proposed a tax on transfer passengers entering Kiphol to reduce noise pollution. Currently, the air passenger tax is € 26.43 per passenger per flight. The government argued that a transfer tax was necessary for the country’s economy and accessibility.
In a LinkedIn post last week, the President of Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (KLM Royal Dutch Airlines) shared her apprehensions regarding the proposition. Ms Marjan Rintel, the airport’s biggest customer, labelled the tax idea as “incomprehensible and very worrying.” Ms Rintel stated she feared passengers, discouraged by a transfer tax on top of CO2 charges introduced by the European Commission, may choose to opt out of Schiphol altogether. She pointed to statistics by research agency CE Delft, which indicates that this heightened tax may cause a decrease of 34% in transfer passengers.
Ms. Rintel also singled out Holland as the only country that has proposed a transfer tax, arguing that this introduction would cause pollution to spread elsewhere. Ms Rintel wrote:
“With this, you stack tax on tax and chase passengers away to airports abroad. That does not ensure cleaner aviation.”
Further Limits Placed On Private Jets And Noisy Aircraft
Thus far, the airport has banned 87 aircraft types for the upcoming summer season based on their noise output. Airlines will be charged five times the amount when flying with noisy and polluting planes to encourage cleaner and quieter travel in the Netherlands.
A maximum of 12,000 private flights may enter the airport annually, a decrease of about 40% compared to the previous limit. Eventually, the airport plans to ban private flights entirely, most likely due to their high carbon emissions – a Transport & Environment study finds that private flights are five to fourteen times more polluting than commercial flights per passenger.
Do you think this decision is right for reducing noise pollution around the Airport? Let us know in the comments.