The Dutch Government has notified the European Commission of its intention to limit point-to-point airline operations at Amsterdam Schiphol and relocate them to a new airport at Lelystad.

Under the terms of the proposed decree establishing the Dutch traffic distribution rule between Schiphol airport and Lelystad airport, capacity at the latter airfield will be reserved for point-to-point-flights voluntarily moved from Schiphol. In turn, slots made available at Amsterdam because a point-to-point-flight is moved will have to be used for transfer flights.

The decree would define point-to-point flights as those where the ratio of transfer passengers is less than 10%.

A rarely used mechanism prescribed by European Union law, the administrative division of air traffic is applicable as long as both airports serve the same metropolitan area and are operated by the same organisation.

The move is intended to relieve congestion at Amsterdam, which is already facing capacity constraints mostly due to a limit of 500,000 movements per year imposed because of noise concerns. In 2017, the airport already recorded over 496,000 movements.

The government is planning to prioritise the transfer of operations scheduled between 0720L and 1059L, and between 1800L and 2139L. At these times, Amsterdam is particularly congested due to the waves of connecting flights.

Lelystad, a former military and general aviation facility now undergoing expansion, is also operated by the Royal Schiphol Group. It is located 50 kilometres east of Amsterdam and is set to open to commercial traffic in 2020, a year later than initially planned, as further noise and environmental analyses are completed.

The European Commission is now seeking comments from interested parties by September 7, 2018.

The proposal lists a number of destinations defined as predominantly point-to-point, with a significant number of them being Mediterranean leisure routes. Long-haul sunshine services, such as to Punta Cana, Cancún, Montego Bay or Orlando Sanford, are also listed as point-to-point. The list also includes multiple secondary and tertiary European airports served by LCCs, such as London Southend, London Stansted, London Luton, Berlin Schönefeld, Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen, and Paris Orly.

The decree would mostly affect LCCs and leisure specialists. Among these, the largest ones at Amsterdam are currently Transavia Airlines, easyJet, Vueling Airlines, and Corendon Dutch Airlines.