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Dutch Government Pauses Plan To Cap Amsterdam Flights in 2024

Chris Dong's image
Chris Dong
Chris Dong's image

Chris Dong

Editor & Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 54U.S. States Visited: 36

Chris is a freelance writer and editor with a focus on timely travel trends, points and miles, hot new hotels, and all things that go (he’s a proud aviation geek and transit nerd). Formerly full time ...
Edited by: Nick Ellis
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Nick Ellis

Editor & Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 35U.S. States Visited: 25

Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to le...

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A protracted, years-long battle to cap flights at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) has taken an interesting turn. Dutch government authorities had planned to press forward with an “experimental” scheme limiting the number of flights, which would effectively stop smaller carriers such as JetBlue from flying to The Netherlands.

However, following the U.S. Department of Transportation’s threat to retaliate against the Netherlands and a meeting with U.S. authorities, the Dutch government has suspended the initiative.

Here’s what travelers should know.

Amsterdam Airport Flight Cap

Currently, AMS can accommodate up to 500,000 flights per year, and at one point, there was a proposed goal of growing to 540,000 flights. However, the Dutch government, along with Schiphol Airport itself, want to cap flights at 460,000 per year, which is 9% below 2019 levels.

“Aviation can bring the Netherlands a lot that’s good, as long as we pay attention to the negative effects for people that live near the airport,” said Transport Minister Mark Harbers in a statement announcing the cap, which had planned to go into effect in 2024.

Cap On Private Jets

Next year, Amsterdam intended to restrict “small business traffic” by 40%, which includes the operation of private jets. The proposed maximum for the entire year is 12,000 flights, with 7,200 flights allowed during the summer season. The airport eventually wants to completely eliminate private jets.

Certain Aircraft Types Banned

The airport has listed 87 aircraft types, considered to be the noisiest planes, that are no longer able to fly into or out of Schiphol. These aircraft were not flying to the airport already so the implications are minimal.

What Airlines Are Saying

This decision by Dutch authorities is fiercely opposed by flag carrier KLM and airline industry groups. In fact, KLM sued to try to prevent the cap at AMS, one of Europe’s busiest airports. However, this past summer, an appeals court ruled that the government could move forward with the cap.

“It is hard to imagine such a drastic decision being taken,” said KLM CEO Marjan Rintel. “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.”

As the outcome of this initiative continues to evolve, it’s also apparent that airlines looking to get a foothold at AMS may fall victim. That could include JetBlue, which recently launched daily nonstop service to AMS from New York in August 2023. The airline also flies to AMS from Boston.

JetBlue Mint Studio Airbus A321LR cabin
JetBlue recently added Amsterdam to its transatlantic route network. Image Credit: JetBlue
Hot Tip:

Looking to get to Europe on a budget without spending a lot of cash? Check out our guide to the best ways to fly to Europe using points and miles.

Final Thoughts

Limiting the number of flights at AMS has the potential to not only reduce the number of options for travelers heading to Europe and beyond but could also increase fares in the long term. KLM and other airlines are vehemently opposed to the restrictions, and the effect on flyers will be felt as soon as 2024. However, this is likely not the last of the legal battles surrounding this controversial policy.

Chris Dong's image

About Chris Dong

Chris is a freelance writer and editor with a focus on timely travel trends, points and miles, hot new hotels, and all things that go (he’s a proud aviation geek and transit nerd). Formerly full-time at The Points Guy, his work can now be found at AFAR, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, The Washington Post, and Lonely Planet, among others

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