In 2008 the Airport Traffic Decree set the maximum number of air transport movements for Schiphol at 480,000 in a single year. From 2015 the State accepted a maximum of 500,000 air transport movements in a single year, provided that the conditions for ‘strict preferential runway use’ were met. This means that the nuisance to the surroundings needs to be kept as low as possible by using take-off and landing runways correctly. The State pursued this policy in anticipation of a new Airport Traffic Decree, in which these rules and the maximum number of 500,000 air transport movements were to be stipulated.
In mid-2022 the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management informed the House of Representatives that the new Airport Traffic Decree would not be implemented yet, because in connection with the nitrogen problem Schiphol lacked a nature permit. The minister also mentioned that the council of ministers intended to seek a new balance between the interests of aviation and the surroundings. Ultimately, therefore, the council of ministers aims to reduce the maximum number of air transport movements allowed for Schiphol to 440,000 in a single year. The State intends to do that in two steps. In the first step, the State wants to introduce a temporary arrangement for the flying season from November 2023 through October 2024, by which the maximum number of air transport movements allowed will already be reduced to 460,000. In the second step the State aims to curtail the maximum number of air transport movements to 440,000 in a single year.
KLM and a great many other airlines object to the intention of the State and Schiphol to reduce the number of air transport movements by the 2023/2024 season. They argue that the State should have followed the procedure prescribed by European law first. They note that airlines structure their operations for the long term. Accordingly, they argue that they should be able to rely on retaining the current capacity of a maximum of 500,000 flights, until a new maximum has been determined. To that end, the prescribed procedure requires the State to consult the airlines as well.