The Netherlands’ Schiphol airport, the third busiest in Europe, has cut the number of flights by 12% to reduce pollution, becoming the first airport in the world limiting traffic to make the aviation industry more sustainable.
The decision of flight cut was made by the Netherland’s cabinet. Dutch Minister Mark Harbers of Infrastructure and Water Management said in the statement that the cap aims to restore “the balance between a well-operating international airport, the business climate, and the interests of a better and healthier living environment.”
The reduction in the number of flights will become effective by the end of 2023. Schiphol airport will limit the maximum number of flights each year to under 440,000. The Minister also highlights that the movements would lead to less noise pollution and fewer emissions of CO2, nitrogen, (ultra) particulate matter and other harmful substances.
However, the decision also causes criticism and disagreement. General Director Olivier Jankovec of Airports Council International (ACI Europe) said that “Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is what makes the Netherlands bigger than it is.” He insists that the reduction will inevitably make the Netherlands smaller.
Aviation accounts for 2.1% of global emissions. Greenpeace, which lobbied for Schiphol to reduce airport traffic, described the move as a “historic breakthrough.” Dewi Zloch, aviation expert at Greenpeace in the Netherlands pointed out that the cut is the impetus. Schiphol needs to eventually come up with a plan that takes the Paris Agreement into account.