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Schiphol airport's ban on night flights and private jets blocked by Dutch court

The airport acknowledges that the decision could push up the price of holidays as a result.
The airport acknowledges that the decision could push up the price of holidays as a result. Copyright Ben Koorengevel
Copyright Ben Koorengevel
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
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The airport acknowledges that the decision could push up the price of holidays as a result.

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Earlier this week, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport announced it aims to eliminate overnight flights by the end of 2025.

It also wants to ban private jet flights within certain time periods.

The move is part of a push to reduce noise pollution and lower CO2 emissions, reports Dutch newspaper Het Parool.

But on Wednesday a Dutch court ruled against the proposals because the government had not adhered to correct procedure.

Here’s what we know so far.

Schiphol airport bans late night flights

Schiphol airport, which is majority owned by the state, has announced plans to scrap all overnight flights by the end of 2025 in reaction to the noise disturbance caused to local residents.

The transport hub said the move would significantly reduce the “serious nuisance” that people living in the area have to deal with, according to an interview with CEO Ruud Sondag in Het Parool.

The ban on overnight flights would prevent “severe sleep disturbances” by over 54 per cent, the airport claimed.

Under the proposal, all commercial flights and cargo flights scheduled to depart between midnight and 6am would be halted as well as those landing between midnight and 5am. Around 10,000 flights a year currently run during overnight hours.

The airport’s authorities have also said they will eliminate all private jet flights that take off and land at Schiphol during certain times in a bid to reduce emissions and prohibit noisy, outdated aircraft from using the airport.

The idea was to begin gradually phasing out night flights starting this November, but on Wednesday a Haarlem court blocked the proposals.

Carriers including KLM and easyJet were involved in bringing the case against the Dutch government, citing long-term efforts to reduce emissions and noise levels.  

The ruling is a severe disappointment to activist groups who had long called for airports to curb emissions. 

"We and others have been campaigning for a ban on private jets and an end to excess emissions inequality. This is a great first step,” tweeted activist group Scientist Rebellion Netherlands in reaction to Schiphol's initial accouncement.

Will Schiphol’s night flight ban increase holiday prices?

Even if the court ruling can be overturned, Schiphol CEO Sondag has acknowledged that eliminating overnight flights will be a challenge, particularly as it will need the cooperation of all airlines.

The airport acts as a transport hub where passengers frequently transfer between flights.

Budget airlines try to use aircraft as many times as possible during 24 hour periods meaning flights are often scheduled during night hours as well as the day.

The ban would mean some companies cutting routes, potentially leading to an increase in flight prices.

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Transavia, an airline owned by Air France-KLM, would be one of the companies most affected as about 55 per cent of its flights depart from or land at Schiphol during night hours.

The airport is also continuing to cap passenger numbers in April and May due to staff shortages.

Between 6am and 1pm each day, flight companies are required to book 5 per cent fewer seats - or around 5,000 fewer passengers a day.

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