Plan to limit flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is put on hold

The Dutch government on Tuesday suspended its plan to further reduce its flight cap at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for the summer 2024 season in an effort to reduce noise pollution. The decision comes after U.S. and EU representatives met on Monday to discuss the issue, according to Reuters.

It also follows JetBlue’s September complaint to the U.S. DOT in which it warned that it could lose its summer 2024 Amsterdam slots — after just launching service to the city in August — and urged the U.S. to take retaliatory measures against Netherlands flag carrier KLM, calling the cuts a violation of the Open Skies agreement. Earlier this month, JetBlue’s concerns appeared to have come to fruition when it was reported that the carrier would lose its slots come next summer.

It was not immediately clear whether JetBlue now will be able to retain its Schiphol slots for summer 2024, and the carrier did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But during a Wednesday U.S. Travel Association event in Washington, JetBlue president and COO Joanna Geraghty said that Tuesday’s decision was a “favorable outcome.”

The Dutch government’s announcement was “welcomed news,” the industry group Airlines for America said in a statement. “We are grateful to the U.S. government, particularly the Department of Transportation, for listening to the aviation industry’s concerns and issuing a very strong order outlining the violations of the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement.”

KLM was “satisfied that the Dutch government has decided to suspend the experimental rule for next year,” the carrier said in a statement. “It is an important step to prevent retaliation and to continue flying to the U.S.”

The carrier added that “the European Commission has sent a clear signal to go through a careful legal process according to the balanced approach. We have agreed to a number of announced measures, such as the cleaner, quieter and more economical plan, to accelerate the reduction of noise pollution. KLM shares the government’s environmental concerns and is fully committed to reducing its environmental footprint.”

In a letter to the Dutch parliament, however, Dutch infrastructure minister Mark Harbers said that “the cabinet is still committed to restoring the balance between Schiphol and its environment” and that the cabinet would continue to pursue the plan, according to Reuters.

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