Court orders Schiphol to add 2,700 flight slots to summer schedule

A plane approaches Schiphol Airport
A plane approaches Schiphol AirportPhoto: @Schiphol / Twitter

Schiphol has to transfer its unused flight slots from this past winter to the busy summer period, the court ruled in a lawsuit filed by airlines EasyJet, Corendon and TUI. This involves 2,700 takeoffs and landings, Het Parool reports.

This transfer of unused winter 'time slots' to the busy summer season is customary. But this year Schiphol refused to do so in order to better manage the expected peak pressure in the summer, and to stay below the airport's limit of 500 thousand flight movements per year. According to the airport, using the unused winter time slots in the summer would again lead to massive crowds and long lines at Schiphol. 

According to the airlines behind the lawsuit, this decision puts the summer vacation plans of some 500 thousand Dutch in danger. They worried that they would have to cancel flights if the airport doesn't use the unused winter slots in the summer period, like it always did before. "We believe that an airport with scarce capacity should not withhold any flights", Corendon CEO Seven van den Heijden said, according to Het Parool.

On Thursday the court ruled in favor of the airlines. According to the court, Schiphol did not concretely prove that transferring the 2,700 unused winter slots to summer would lead to additional problems at the airport. The unused flight slots should therefore be used this summer. Schiphol has 24 hours to adjust its planning, according to NOS.

Schiphol will accept this ruling. "We respect the judgment of the court and are going to make the capacity available", the airport said in a written response. "We will do everything we can to accommodate the flights as well as possible during the busy holiday season."

EasyJet, TUI and Corendon are pleased with the ruling. "What we counted on is now coming our way", Van den Heijden said to NOS. "We can carry out the flights we planned."