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Amsterdam Schiphol declares ‘limited reduction’ in 2024 capacity



Amsterdam Schiphol has announced a “limited reduction” in capacity in 2024 to “relieve pressure” during peak times after controversial plans to significantly cut the number of flights allowed from the airport were scrapped.

The airport said there is room for 483,000 flights at Schiphol in 2024, with plans to provide capacity for 293,000 flights in the summer season (31 March to 26 October), on the condition that “peak times are relieved”. 

In a statement, the airport said a limited reduction is needed at peak times “to allow for safe and stable operations” and that airlines “have agreed to help with this”. 

The move comes after the Dutch government’s plans to reduce annual flights at the Amsterdam hub were suspended last November following pressure from the US and EU.

The hotly contested plans to reduce noise pollution would have forced Schiphol to reduce annual flights from 500,000 per year to 460,000 from April 2024. Further reductions were also planned to 440,000 annual flights by 2025.

The 293,000 flights that are now planned for the 2024 summer season will allow for 13,000 more flights than the previously announced 280,000 permitted under the capacity-reduction scheme.

“At the request of the minister, we reviewed what was operationally possible after the experimental scheme was taken off the table. More flights are now possible, but this is only safe and responsible provided we reduce pressure on certain peak hours,” said Patricia Vitalis, executive director operations at Royal Schiphol Group.

“The busy peak times require a major effort from the entire aviation sector and the involved government partners. In order to offer travellers a pleasant and safe journey, we really need each other at the airport… It’s good to see that airlines have committed to helping reduce peak traffic,” she added.

Responding to the capacity announcement, Netherlands flag carrier KLM said the move will make it possible “to continue its recovery after the extremely difficult period during the pandemic”. 

“Stable, predictable operations are vital for customers and employees, who understandably expect this from us… KLM will obviously do everything possible to operate the number of flights it has been allocated,” the carrier said in a statement.

According to the airport, the independent slot coordinator is currently in talks with airlines to assess how the number of flights can be reduced, with a focus on reducing capacity during morning peaks from 68 to 65 arrivals per hour. 

Consultation for the winter season (27 October 2024 to 30 March 2025) will follow “later in 2024”.

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