By Mauro Orru

 

Delta Air Lines Inc. and a host of other airlines are suing the Dutch government over plans to cut the number of annual flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, saying the decision is "incomprehensible" as they had already invested billions to meet targets on decarbonization.

KLM Group, part of Air France-KLM, easyJet PLC, TUI AG and Corendon Airlines are also challenging a government decision to reduce annual flights at the airport to 460,000 from 500,000 in November this year, a move that is expected to reduce carbon emission as well as noise pollution around the airport. Flights will then be capped at 440,000 by November next year.

"We strongly object to capacity reductions at Schiphol Airport and remain actively focused on investing in our fleet renewal and modernization program as the most effective way forward to mitigate noise and environmental concerns," Delta's Executive Vice President of External Affairs Peter Carter said Friday.

A spokesman for the Dutch government said it is committed to reducing the number of annual flights at Schiphol to 440,000 by November 2024.

"The Dutch government intends to stop the practice of anticipatory non-enforcement regarding flight operations at Schiphol per November 1, 2023. By returning to the prevailing legal system, there would be room for 460,000 flights. By enforcing the prevailing legal system, we are restoring the legal position of local residents," the spokesman said.

Schiphol Airport said in a statement posted Thursday on its website that the 460,000 cap is a "necessary intermediate step" before the 440,000 cap kicks in in November 2024.

KLM, which accounts for roughly 60% of traffic at the Dutch airport, said that global industry trade group International Air Transport Association would also be taking to the courts for proceedings against the Dutch government.

"As the government appears not to hear our call, unfortunately we find ourselves compelled to take legal action," KLM Chief Executive Marjan Rintel said.

 

Write to Mauro Orru at mauro.orru@wsj.com; @MauroOrru94

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 03, 2023 08:48 ET (13:48 GMT)

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