04 September, 2023

KLM makes statement on capacity cuts at Schiphol

Unnecessary capacity reduction will damage the Netherlands

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has issued the following statement on the decision by the government of The Netherlands to cut the capacity at the nation's biggest airport, Schiphol in Amsterdam.

Unfortunately, today the Dutch cabinet announced the government’s intention to drastically cut the number of flights operating at the Dutch airport Schiphol. In so doing, the minister is opting to focus one-sidedly on capacity reduction as a goal in itself. We find this incomprehensible. This is not about the number of flight movements but about reducing noise. The noise targets can be achieved in a better way that would really benefit local residents, the climate, airlines and the Dutch economy.

Our “cleaner, quieter and more efficient” plan shows that we can achieve the noise targets, while operating the current number of flights. The plan embodies serious commitment from KLM. We can accomplish this if given the space to do so. Our plan will achieve the targets while ensuring the more rapid renewal of our aircraft, supporting cleaner, quieter and more efficient flight operations.

By contrast, the minister is opting for unnecessary reductions rather than actual improvements. We find it inconceivable that the minister plans to tear down what KLM has helped build over almost 104 years.

We do everything we can to make flying cleaner, quieter and more efficient. We carry that responsibility on a day-to-day basis. Drastically cutting the number of flight movements at Schiphol isn’t necessary to reduce noise levels. We demonstrated this in the “cleaner, quieter and more efficient” plan submitted to the minister on 15 June. The plan was verified externally by the independent Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR). By acquiring new, quieter aircraft, introducing smarter operational processes and by – as far as possible – deploying the quietest aircraft at night, our plan will achieve the night-time targets immediately and, after only three years, will deliver even more to local residents throughout the day and night. Innovation in the airline industry will enable us to fly cleaner, quieter and more efficient aircraft worldwide.

KLM CEO Marjan Rintel said:  "We are proud of KLM’s contribution to the accessibility of the Netherlands, serving close to 170 direct destinations worldwide from our Schiphol hub. We satisfy the needs of millions of people wanting to discover places around the world – to conduct business, to reunite families and to transport critical cargo. We hope to continue doing so in balance with the local surroundings. Minister Harbers asked us to reduce noise by 20%. To this end, we submitted the cleaner, quieter and more efficient plan. In it, we show that we can achieve the noise reduction targets while maintaining the current number of flight movements, maintaining the connection between the Netherlands as a trading nation and the rest of the world. Nonetheless, the minister remains fixated on capacity reductions. It is hard to imagine such a drastic decision being taken by an outgoing government, while the Dutch House of Representatives is set to vote on 12 September about which files are to be declared controversial. As an outgoing minister, you don’t mind the shop by closing it!