AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS — The Dutch Flag carrier and several other airlines have triumphed in a legal battle, stopping the Dutch state from reducing the number of flights at Amsterdam Schiphol from 500,000 to 440,000 per year for the 2023/2024 season in an effort to lower noise pollution.

On April 5, 2023, the North Holland Court determined that the state had not adhered to the proper procedure, meaning that Schiphol cannot decrease the maximum number of flights to 460,000 for the upcoming season.

The preliminary injunction was filed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Air Transport Association of America, KLM, KLM Cityhopper, Delta Air Lines, Transavia Airlines, Martinair, and other airlines. The court case came in response to the Dutch cabinet's decision to strike a balance between aviation and environmental interests, aiming to eventually lower the allowed number of flights at Schiphol to 440,000 per year.

KLM and other airlines argued that they should be able to rely on the existing capacity of up to 500,000 flights until a new cap is established, with proper consultation. They also claimed that the Dutch state failed to follow European law procedures.

The preliminary relief judge agreed, ruling that the Dutch state did not follow the correct procedure when introducing the proposed temporary regulation. European rules dictate that the state can only cut the number of flights at an airport after a thorough process that involves mapping out measures to minimize noise disturbance and consulting all stakeholders.

IATA expressed support for the Dutch court's decision, but KLM criticized Schiphol for unilaterally proposing new rules that would significantly impact airlines without involving industry stakeholders in the process. The airport's new rules aimed to restrict noise and CO2 footprint by imposing a night-time ban, resulting in 10,000 fewer night flights per year. Schiphol International also aimed prohibit the use of airport by private jets and small-business aviation and gradually enforce controls on noisier aircraft by 2025-2026.

KLM emphasized the importance of a collaborative, sector-wide approach to achieve a balance between the environment and aviation, and invited Schiphol to participate in consultations with other airlines and aviation industry organizations.