Dutch gov't to limit vacation flights from Schiphol, promote international network: report

Schiphol airport, 29 Sept 2018
Schiphol airport, 29 Sept 2018Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

In the next 30 years, the Dutch government wants to limit the number of flights from Schiphol to popular tourist destinations. Instead the focus will be on increasing the airport's international network by favoring companies who contribute to this network in the distribution of flight slots, the Volkskrant reports based on Infrastructure Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen's draft Aviation Policy Document 2020-2050. 

Between 2020 and 2050, Schiphol will be allowed limited growth, in order to limit noise pollution for local residents and greenhouse gas emissions. After 2020, the airport can grow to 540 thousand takeoffs and landings per year, 40 thousand more than the current allowed flight movements. 

The intention is that Schiphol will use this growth to expand its worldwide network, for the benefit of the Dutch economy, according to the newspaper. The extra flight movements should therefore not go to extra flights to vacation destinations along the Spanish or Turkish coast, for example.

To give Schiphol the power to steer the distribution of flights, Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen plans to establish a "local rule". This rule allows Schiphol's independent slot coordinator to prioritize companies that contribute most to the airport's wide-spread network. In practice, these companies will mostly be KLM and its subsidiaries, according to the newspaper. 

The VVD Minister said that the local rule is "not really adequate" to keep holiday flight providers out of Schiphol - European regulations prohibit that. She will therefore advocate for more powers for the Member States in Brussels. 

Travel agency Corendon expects that this local rule will be "very disadvantageous for holiday companies", CEO Steven van der Heijden said to the Volkskrant. "The question is whether it is allowed. It interferes quite a bit in the free market. Due to the delay in Lelystad Airport and the slow build-up of the number of flights if that airport can eventually be opened, there is no alternative [to Schiphol]."