Netherlands to Cut Overnight Flights and Ban Loud Aircraft at Schiphol Airport

Netherlands to Cut Overnight Flights and Ban Loud Aircraft at Schiphol Airport

Netherlands cuts overnight flights and bans loud aircraft at Schiphol Airport to reduce noise pollution, affecting KLM and Transavia operations.


Key Measures Announced

The Dutch government has announced significant changes to the overnight flight operations at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. 

On Friday, Mark Harbers, the outgoing Minister of Infrastructure, revealed that overnight flights will be reduced from 32,000 to 27,000 next year. 

Additionally, the government will ban the loudest planes from operating at the airport between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.


Compliance with Court Rulings

These measures are part of the government’s efforts to comply with recent court rulings

The courts have criticized the government for failing to enforce noise pollution regulations at the airport, prioritizing the airport’s interests over those of residents. 

In response, the government aims to protect locals from airport-related nuisances.


Encouraging Quieter Aircraft

Schiphol will increase the costs of operating noisy planes at night to further encourage the use of quieter aircraft. 

This economic pressure is intended to motivate airlines to modernize their fleets. 

For example, KLM, which operates the most flights at Schiphol, has committed to replacing noisy aircraft with quieter ones starting in November 2024.


Impact on Flight Movements

Interestingly, reducing the number of overnight flights will allow Schiphol to increase its total number of flight movements during the day. 

Slot coordinator Hugo Thomassen explained that giving up a night flight creates significantly more “noise space” during the day. 

Consequently, Schiphol’s total flight movements may increase from 452,500 to 460,000 and 470,000 next year, reflecting a 2 to 4 percent growth.


Projected Changes in Flight Movements

PeriodCurrent MovementsFuture MovementsGrowth Percentage
Total (Annual)452,500460,000 – 470,0002 – 4%

Reactions from Airlines

Not all stakeholders are pleased with the changes. 

KLM has criticized the government for not considering the need for airlines to maintain their schedules and destinations, which is essential for generating revenue to upgrade fleets. 

Similarly, Transavia, a low-cost subsidiary of KLM, is concerned about the impact on its operations. 

Transavia holds approximately 73 percent of the takeoff and landing slots between midnight and 5 a.m. 

CEO Marcel de Nooijer stated that the cuts could significantly disrupt their business model, which relies on operating planes multiple times daily to keep airfares affordable.


Local Residents’ Response

Residents, who have long been affected by noise pollution, support the changes but are wary of the potential increase in daytime noise. 

They are also preparing a mass claim of 3 billion euros against the Dutch State due to the prolonged neglect of noise regulations.



The Dutch government’s decision to cut overnight flights and ban loud aircraft at Schiphol Airport represents a crucial step towards addressing residents’ noise pollution concerns. 

However, the increase in daytime flights and the potential operational disruptions for airlines highlight the complexity of balancing environmental, economic, and community interests.


Key Takeaways

  • Reduction of overnight flights: From 32,000 to 27,000
  • Ban on loud aircraft: Between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Increase in total flight movements: Up to 470,000
  • Economic pressures on airlines: Encouraging quieter fleets
  • Support and concerns from residents and airlines

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