Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport To Combat Climate Change by Capping Flights

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, already one of Europe’s busiest air travel hubs, has been the subject of much criticism amid the chaos that’s characterizing this summer’s travel scene, as travelers have returned to the skies en masse, overwhelming understaffed airports and air carriers. It has recently made headlines for limiting the number of passengers it will accept, forcing airlines to cut down on their planned schedules for the season.

But, now, there’s another reason Schiphol is cutting down on operations just as demand for air travel rebounds to pre-pandemic levels. The Amsterdam area airport announced that it will permanently reduce the number of flights passing through each year. Dutch officials cited a few reasons for doing so, but foremost among them was combating climate change, noise and air pollution.


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Last month, The Netherlands’ transportation officials announced that, starting in 2023, Schiphol would cap the number of aircraft permitted movement through the airport at 440,000 per year, down from the roughly 500,000 it sees now. According to, that represents a 12-percent reduction from 2019’s air traffic.

Schiphol is the country’s main international airport and the third-busiest in all of Europe—after London Heathrow and Paris’ Charles De Gaulle Airport—handling over 70 million passengers each year. Air travel in Europe has been notoriously messy lately, with widespread and continuous flight disruptions,

“Attention must be paid to reducing the negative effects of aviation on people, the environment, and nature,” the Transportation Ministry wrote in its announcement. Greenpeace aviation expert Dewi Zloch called the move a “historic breakthrough” in his reaction statement, saying, “fewer flights are desperately needed for our nature, health and the climate.”

According to Travel Awaits, Infrastructure and Water Management Minister Mark Harbers said on the subject, “I want to offer certainty and perspective to both the aviation sector and local residents.” He added, “This decision forms the basis for a new equilibrium. Unfortunately, it contains a difficult message for the aviation sector, which is still fully recovering from the drastic consequences of the corona[virus] pandemic.”

The global aviation industry generates about two percent of human-produced carbon dioxide emissions. Up to this point, most of the sector’s efforts at greening their operations rely on carbon offsets. But, that approach produces questionable results and does nothing to reduce the volume of greenhouse gases and other pollutants being put into the atmosphere by the airplanes themselves.

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