Schiphol Airport is the largest, and most important, airport in the Netherlands. Being that it connects many of the other notable European airports, it’s also one of the busiest in the world. Which is why the news that the hub plans to cut late-night flights has come as a bit of a shock.
Per a new report from Reuters, Schiphol Group CEO Ruud Sondag has announced that various plans for the airport are to be introduced over the course of the next two years, the most significant of which will include closing it down between midnight and 5AM. That said, it’s hard to argue the reason for doing so. The move is meant to reduce noise pollution in what is a very densely populated area — something environmental groups have been lobbing for for years.
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“We have thought about growth but too little about its impact for too long,” Sondag said. “We need to be sustainable for our employees, the local environment and the world. The only way forward is to become quieter and cleaner more rapidly. We have thought about growth but too little about its impact for too long. We need to be sustainable.”
Of course, not everyone is lauding the decision. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was quick to express its disappointment, stating, “We are astonished that Schiphol is unilaterally putting forward proposals that will have far-reaching consequences for airlines, without involving the industry parties in this process.” This comes after the Dutch government’s previous announcement that it would cap flights at 440,000 per year, down from 500,000 pre-COVID levels, which KLM has already challenged.
The airport is also reportedly planning to ban noisier airplanes and private jets. According to the environmental group Greenpeace, even if other European airports do move forward with the elimination of night flights, Schiphol would be “the first major one on the continent to ban polluting private planes.”
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