23 February 2023, by Victoria Séveno
Schiphol has agreed to the government-mandated cap on flights – but only in the short term. While the airport continues to battle against staff shortages and high passenger numbers post-pandemic, management hopes Schiphol will be able to grow and expand its services again from 2025.
Schiphol reducing passenger numbers by 5 percent this spring
The past year has not been a good one for Schiphol Airport. While the number of people flying increased significantly after the coronavirus pandemic, the airport booked a loss of 77 million euros in 2022. Those flying via the Netherlands’ biggest airport faced long queues and misplaced baggage, as well as delays and cancellations to flights.
While things are a little better this year, Schiphol has already agreed to cap the number of departing passengers from the end of March through to mid-May, specifically with the aim of reducing queues and wait times during the busy May Holiday – which is when the scale of issues at Schiphol came to light last year.
This spring, the airport is reducing outgoing passenger numbers by 5 percent, equivalent to thousands of passengers a day. The cap will largely affect flights scheduled to depart before noon – generally the busiest time of day at the airport – but in the week leading up to Easter, the cap will be in effect throughout the day.
Dutch government wants a maximum of 440.000 flights a year
In addition to a cap on the number of departing passengers, Schiphol Airport has to adhere to regulations put in place by the Dutch government. Currently, a maximum of 500.000 flights can travel via Schiphol every year, but the government wants to see this figure reduced to 440.000 in order to limit noise pollution and emissions. KLM has already said the measure might force the airline to scrap up to 30 destinations from its network.
It isn’t yet clear when the new flight cap will come into effect, but in the meantime, the cabinet has set a “necessary intermediate step” of 460.000 flights per year. Schiphol has agreed to the measure – but only in the short term. In a letter sent to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management this week, the airport agreed to enforce the cap in 2023 and 2024, but hoped there will be space for further growth from 2025.
Airport management emphasised the value of the connections offered by the airport, and asked the government to clarify the environmental restrictions that will be placed on the Dutch aviation industry and encourage and invest in technological development that helps to reduce noise and emissions. The letter states that doing so will allow the aviation sector to adequately prepare for the future, while simultaneously opening up the door for future growth.
Thumb: muratart via Shutterstock.com.
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