DALLAS — The US government has approved complaints by JetBlue (B6) and trade group Airlines for America (A4A) against the government of the Netherlands and the European Union for alleged violations related to capacity cuts at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS).
According to a flightglobal.com report, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) is now working to negotiate a solution with Dutch authorities and has ordered Dutch airlines to submit their US flight schedules.
The US airline industry has asked the DOT to collect the flight schedules as part of a broader regulatory response to the Schiphol capacity cuts. The Dutch authorities have restricted operating rights at AMS next summer in an effort to reduce noise pollution.
As a result, not only US carriers, including B6, will lose slots at AMS, but the planned flight reductions at the Dutch airport will also impact the operations of the country’s flag carrier, KLM (KL).
The Dispute Escalates
At the end of September, B6 filed a complaint with the DOT against the Netherlands and the European Union over the Dutch government’s move to curb traffic at AMS, alleging that the capacity cuts violated US and European laws and the US-EU Air Transport Agreement. In a letter, the Long Island City airline added that it understood from conversations with the Dutch slot coordinator that its brand-new take-off and landing rights would be revoked.
JetBlue was officially denied the right to serve AMS next summer as Airport Coordination Netherlands (ACNL) confirmed the limitations on the number of slots available for all airlines operating at the European hub. Now, the DOT has approved B6’s complaints, stating that the capacity cuts violate the air transport agreement and that the Netherlands failed to follow a “balanced approach” as required under an EU regulation.
The DOT has initiated consultations with the Netherlands and the EU and has given Dutch airlines seven days to submit their US schedules. The transportation body has also been pursuing a diplomatic solution to the issue since January.
Separately, A4A has asked the DOT to defer further action toward approving US flights by German airline USC, citing the ongoing AMS dispute. The DOT approved USC’s permit on November 1, but amid all the ruckus, POTUS could very well revoke said permit.
Featured image: PH-BXV KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 737-800 AMS EHAM. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways