Press statement Royal Schiphol Group attends preliminary relief proceedings on 21 March 2023
- Schiphol views the temporary reduction in the number of aircraft movements from 500,000 to 460,000 as a necessary interim step which provides certainty and clarity in the short term for local residents, the aviation sector and public authorities. Uncertaincy is to no one’s benefit.
- The preliminary scheme, as proposed and made possible by the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management (I&W), can be implemented by Schiphol.
- Schiphol believes above all that a new Airport Traffic Decree containing clear and enforceable environmental limits which provide certainty and perspective for all stakeholders should be initiated as soon as possible.
Schiphol said today that it considers a reduction in the number of aircraft movements from 500,000 to 460,000 per year as a necessary interim step that ensures certainty in advance of a new Airport Traffic Decree. This should provide certainty and perspective for local residents as well as airlines. The lawyers acting for Schiphol made the airport’s stance known in the preliminary relief proceedings before the Haarlem District Court in the matter of the ‘Schiphol Preliminary Scheme’. The proceedings had been brought by KLM and other airlines against the Ministry of I&W and Royal Schiphol Group.
Schiphol believes that a new Airport Traffic Decree containing hard environmental limits that protect residents and the environment should be initiated as soon as possible. These environmental limits will make it clear to the aviation sector what is and is not possible. There should also be scope for reward within these limits, in the event that aviation proves to be quieter and cleaner. That system is still in the works, however, and a situation which sees two systems operating along separate tracks is far from ideal.
Background: about the capacity declaration
In Schiphol’s view, the key question today was whether it may include the preliminary scheme in its capacity declarations for the coming Winter season (W23). The airport describes in the capacity declaration how many flights are permitted in a season. The independent slot coordinator then allocates the available capacity (slots) amongst the airlines. The capacity declaration process for the coming Winter season is currently ongoing.
While the preliminary scheme is not ideal for anyone, Schiphol believes it nonetheless provides the necessary certainty, represents an intermediate step towards a good and robust system of protection and certainty and furthermore is workable. Schiphol sees it as a necessary intermediate step towards the real solution of a new Airport Traffic Decree. Concluding the oral arguments on behalf of Schiphol, the lawyers stated that certainty and perspective were key, and that no time should be wasted in providing them.
Aside from the court proceedings, Schiphol continues to vigorously pursue its aim of achieving a good and workable system with clear nuisance and environmental limits. Schiphol willingly reaches out to all parties in order to accelerate further progress towards a new balance, with certainty and perspective for all. While it is clear to us that people love to travel, we are also mindful that sustainability, health and wellbeing are rightly seen as increasingly important. The world is changing, and aviation needs to change with it.