Key Points:

  • JetBlue has voiced its objection to the Netherlands' decision to limit flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

  • The Dutch government's move to cap flights is being opposed by major airlines, including flag carrier KLM.

  • JetBlue warns of seeking retaliatory measures against Dutch carriers if no agreement is reached.

U.S. Airline Raises Concerns on U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement Violations

AMSTERDAM — JetBlue Airways, the prominent U.S. low-cost airline, lodged a formal complaint against the Netherlands and the European Union with the U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday. This move follows the Dutch government's decision to limit flight operations at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

Earlier this month, the Dutch authorities announced their intention to proceed with plans that would set a cap on flight numbers at Schiphol Airport for the coming year as an initiative to decrease noise pollution. This move has been met with significant pushback from the airline industry, especially from flag carrier KLM.

JetBlue's complaint highlighted that the Dutch government's recent move breaches the provisions set out in the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement. With the implementation of this cap, flight operations would be limited to 452,500 annually, marking a substantial decrease of almost 10% from the levels recorded in 2019. This number is even lower than an earlier proposal which suggested a cap of 460,000 flights.

JetBlue emphasized that the newly established restrictions would prevent new airlines from entering the market at Schiphol. "Historical carriers at Schiphol are staring at a 4% cut in their capacity. In contrast, new market players like JetBlue are looking at a full market lockout, leading to a 100% exclusion," commented the airline. Despite assurances from the Dutch government about the fairness of this move, JetBlue refuted their claims, labeling the decision as neither fair nor proportional.

The cap's introduction at Schiphol, one of Europe's major air traffic hubs, has also led other airline operators, including Air France-KLM, to initiate legal action to overturn it. These airlines argue that such a cap is detrimental to business growth and stands contrary to prior agreements.

Having established two daily flight routes between the U.S. and Amsterdam since August, JetBlue expressed its concerns and mentioned that, if no consensus is achieved, it would request the U.S. government to impose similar constraints on Dutch airlines.