Major airlines led by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have come together to lodge an appeal in cassation against the July 7 judgment of the Dutch appeal court that allows the government to scale back capacity at Amsterdam Schiphol next year to reduce noise and carbon emissions.

The Amsterdam Appeal Court's overturned an April 5 judgement by the District Court of Noord-Holland which ruled the state did not follow the correct European Union regulations when it sought to cut capacity from 500,000 to 440,000 flights annually at Schiphol for the 2023/2024 season. The state took the matter on appeal, resulting in the appeal court ruling that the state may establish a "temporary experimental scheme" that would not violate EU regulations, provided it met certain conditions.

However, the airline grouping argues that the appeal court ruling results in a lack of clarity and uncertainty for travellers and the aviation sector. "It does not appear from the ruling how an experimentation scheme can be applied and how enforcement should be implemented. In addition, the judgment is in violation of national, European and international regulations. It is, therefore, unclear when, how and in what way the judgment will be implemented and what it means for the number of air transport movements at Schiphol. It is important for all parties involved that this clarity is achieved," the group said in a statement.

Members of the group include the KLM Group (KLM, KLM cityhopper, Martinair (Netherlands), and Transavia Airlines), Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Air Canada, easyJet, Corendon Dutch Airlines, TUI fly (Netherlands), IATA representing 300 member airlines worldwide; and Airlines for America, representing ten major US airlines. They are supported by industry associations BARIN, Air Cargo Netherlands (ACN), Airlines for Europe (A4E), and European Regions Airline Association (ERA).

The Dutch cabinet announced the cap in February 2023 through a temporary arrangement for the flight season from November 2023 to October 2024, but the airlines objected, arguing they were not consulted and that European law regulates a balanced approach to achieve less noise and CO2 emissions while meeting travellers' need to fly.

KLM has suggested an alternative plan to the Dutch government, wherein it proposes to invest up to EUR7 billion euros (USD7.6 billion) in new aircraft and will adopt smarter flight procedures and schedules, which would mean retaining its network while reducing environmental hazards.