KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has submitted a plan to the Dutch government detailing how it will lower noise at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) without the flight cap the government wants to impose.
A strict flight cap “is not the only way” to reduce airport noise, KLM says in a statement. “There are other ways to solve this problem. Our approach ensures that noise impact will continue to decline.”
In a June 15 filing with the Dutch Infrastructure and Water Management Ministry, KLM says it can reduce its noise impact at AMS by 20% for daytime flights by 2026 and by 15% for operations at night by 2024 without capping flights. KLM contends a flights cap at AMS would severely hinder its ability to grow and would compromise Schiphol’s status as a global hub.
In an effort to reduce noise and carbon dioxide emissions generated by airlines using AMS, the Netherlands earlier this year announced a limit of 460,000 annual flight movements at the airport beginning with the 2023-24 winter season and lowering again to 440,000 annual movements in 2024.
The current limit is 500,000 annual flights. AMS saw 496,000 annual movements in 2019 prior to COVID-19 pandemic.
KLM and other airlines successfully sued to block the plan for now, with a Dutch court ruling in April that the government's dictate to cut noise at AMS by limiting flights does not abide by EU rules, citing procedural issues.
The carrier says that its new proposal “ensures that the nighttime target will be achieved as early as 2024.”
KLM says the government’s plan to limit the number of flights at AMS “has many drawbacks,” noting “no distinction is drawn [by the government] between newer and older aircraft.”
The airline says adding new, more efficient aircraft to its fleet to replace older models will help reduce airport noise. “The money we’re earning today will be invested in tomorrow’s cleaner, quieter, more efficient aircraft,” KLM states, adding: “New aircraft are on average 50% more silent than the aircraft they replace, constituting a substantial reduction in noise impact, as supported by figures gathered in recent years.”
The carrier says it plans to invest €6-€7 billion ($6.6-$7.7 billion) in the “coming years” in new aircraft, adding that it has also “conducted extensive research into adopting smarter processes that will ensure quieter operations” and “substantially reduce noise impact” at AMS. These include “alternative flight approach procedures, ensuring that aircraft spend less time at low altitudes,” KLM says, noting such changes will have a significant impact if all airlines operating at AMS adopt them.
KLM says it will also “adjust flight schedules so that we deploy our quietest aircraft at night,” adding: “We also propose that higher airport fees are charged for noisier aircraft than for silent aircraft at Schiphol. This will ensure that there is an incentive for all airlines operating at Schiphol to reduce noise impact by deploying their most silent fleet.”
The airline adds it is seeking “to engage constructively with [AMS and the Dutch government], so that we opt for the smartest approach that will demonstrably lead to a cleaner, quieter, more fuel-efficient solution.”
This article originally appeared Aviation Week