The boss of Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport has announced plans to turn down the noise and limit pollution in one of the world’s most densely populated areas.
The airport will phase out all flights between midnight and 5am, ban private jets and the nosiest planes, and abandon a project for an additional runway.
“We have thought about growth but too little about its impact for too long. We need to be sustainable for our employees, the local environment and the world,” said Ruud Sondag, CEO of the Schiphol Group.
“The only way forward is to become quieter and cleaner more rapidly. We have thought about growth but too little about its impact for too long. We need to be sustainable,” Mr Sondag said.
The environmental group Greenpeace welcomed the move.
“Finally, they seem to turn the tide,” said its air transport expert Maarten de Zeeuw, especially lauding the ban on private jets.
“We are happy that Schiphol is listening,” Mr De Zeeuw said. The group said that even if other European airports had night-time flying limits, Schiphol would be the first major one on the continent to ban polluting private planes.
Airline KLM was less enthusiastic, complaining that it was not more closely consulted over the decision.
“We are astonished that Schiphol is unilaterally putting forward proposals that will have far-reaching consequences for airlines without involving the industry parties in this process,” it said in a statement.
Last summer, the Dutch government decided to cut the maximum number of flights allowed each year in an attempt to reduce noise and air pollution.
The decision — expected to take effect late in the year — would cut the number of flights allowed from around 500,000 to 440,000.
Schiphol, on the outskirts of Amsterdam, has been growing for years and has become one of the busiest European hubs and a significant driver of economic growth in the Netherlands.
But the government also wants to cut emissions of carbon and other pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, forcing the scaling down of flights.