This week, Schiphol unexpectedly announced plans to scrap all night flights and ban private jets within the next two years. Airlines have already expressed anger and frustration at the plans, with Transavia reporting that the move would affect 1,5 million travellers every summer.
Schiphol CEO announces plans to reduce noise pollution
Schiphol has made dozens of headlines over the past year or so. Between the severe staff shortages across various departments, excessively long queues at check-in and security, and caps on passenger numbers there’s hardly been a week where the airport hasn’t been in the news.
The latest update from the Netherlands’ biggest airport is that, in order to limit noise pollution, the new Schiphol chief Ruud Sondag plans to implement new policies which will not only ban private jets, but will also scrap all night flights. He plans for these changes to be implemented in full by the end of 2025 at the latest.
In addition to sharing these plans with Het Parool, Sondag explained that tentative plans for a new runway at Schiphol were off the table, and that as interim chief he hoped to “restore the confidence of local residents in the airport,” the Amsterdam-based newspaper writes.
Sondag: No more night flights or private jets at Schiphol Airport
Talking to Het Parool, Sondag explained that, under the new plans, Schiphol would be shut down between the hours of midnight and 5am, meaning no flights – commercial or cargo – would land or take off, affecting around 10.000 flights a year. Furthermore, between 5am and 6am in the morning, traffic will only be open to incoming flights. Exceptions would only be possible “if safety is at stake,” Het Parool writes.
In addition to scrapping night flights, Sondag said the changes would also affect some of the noisiest aircraft, such as the Boeing 747-300, which is often used for cargo flights. This ban would be gradually introduced over the course of several months, starting in November 2023.
Finally, Sondag wants to reduce the number of private jets, from approximately 17.000 flights a year to zero. For this rule, however, exceptions would be made for trauma and police helicopters, as well as aircraft belonging to the Dutch coast guard.
Dutch airlines say change would affect millions of holidaymakers
Unsurprisingly, the unexpected reveal of these plans has already led to outrage within the aviation industry, with several airlines speaking out against Sondag’s intention to scrap night flights. A spokesperson for travel organisation TUI told RTL Nieuws that the plan meant airlines could no longer use the same plane for several flights in one day: “These plans again leave the Dutch holidaymaker out in the cold.”
Similarly, Marcel de Nooijer, director at Transavia – an airline that regularly runs flights at unusual times in order to offer travellers lower prices – said the change would be “disastrous for the Dutch aviation sector” and “makes flying really unaffordable for many and no longer accessible for holidaymakers or family visits abroad.”
Corendon said scrapping night flights would result in their prices rising by 10 to 20 euros per ticket, even though only 6 or 7 percent of the company’s flights are scheduled at night. Finally, KLM has expressed concerns about how the change would affect its transfer network in the Netherlands – although Sondag has said the consequences for KLM’s transfers and layovers would be limited.
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