Editor’s Note: Sign up for Unlocking the World, CNN Travel’s weekly newsletter. Get the latest news in aviation, food and drink, where to stay and other travel developments.
High flyers hoping to hop to the Netherlands in a private jet might be forced to rethink their travel plans, as Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is proposing a private jet ban.
The notoriously busy airport has suggested a series of measures to reduce its air traffic and create a “quieter, cleaner and better” system, according to a Schiphol airport statement.
Under new proposals the airport hopes will come into effect “no later than 2025-26,” private jets will “no longer be welcome” at Schiphol. There will also be no aircraft landing between midnight and 5 a.m. local time or taking off between midnight and 6 a.m. local time. Plans for a new runway have also been scrapped.
Schiphol says it’s targeting private jets because they cause “a disproportionate amount of noise nuisance and CO2 emissions per passenger.” Private jets produce up to 14 times more planet-warming pollution than commercial planes, and 50 times more than trains, according to European clean transport organization, Transport & Environment.
When these small, swanky aircraft depart from Schiphol, 30% to 50% of them are heading to vacation hot spots like Ibiza in Spain, Cannes in France or Innsbruck in Austria, according to Schiphol. The airport argues there are plenty of airplanes flying from Amsterdam to those destinations, and suggests private passengers should go commercial instead.
“Sufficient scheduled services are available to the most popular destinations flown to by private jets,” says Schiphol Airport in a statement, adding that small police and ambulance aircraft will be permitted to take off and land as they do currently under the new system.
Last month, the Dutch government announced plans to restrict international aircraft departures in a quest to cut the country’s carbon emissions.
The Dutch government’s “Preliminary Scheme Schiphol,” published in January, proposed slashing flight numbers from 500,000 to 460,000 between winter 2023-2024 and summer 2024.
Airlines including Dutch flagship carrier KLM, as well as Delta and EasyJet, pushed back on this proposed flight cap, launching a legal challenge against the Dutch government.
The airport’s recent statement suggests limiting nighttime air traffic would mean 10,000 fewer night flights each year, and therefore could help get Schiphol to its target.
Cutting down on overnight landings and departures should also reduce noise pollution for local residents, with airport data suggesting the number of local residents experiencing severe sleep disturbance will fall by approximately 54%.
It’s not uncommon for even the busiest airports to implement nighttime curfews – take London Heathrow Airport, for example, which restricts overnight operations.
“Around 80% of the night flights at Heathrow are between 04:30 – 06:00 with an average of 16 aircraft arriving each day between these hours under normal pre-Covid conditions,” reads Heathrow’s website, which adds that flights are never scheduled to depart between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Frankfurt Airport and Zurich Airport are among the other travel hubs with limitations on overnight air traffic.
Concerns about noise are also reflected in Amsterdam’s proposed “stricter approach regarding noisier aircraft,” with Schiphol suggesting it will gradually tighten “existing standards for aircraft that are allowed to take off from and land at Schiphol.”
The airport also pledged to put aside 10 million euros a year for an “environmental fund for the local area,” in a bid to be a friendlier neighbor to its surrounding residents.
In these new measures, Schiphol also promises to safeguard cargo flights, reserving 2.5% of the available takeoff and landing slots for cargo.
“However, cargo flights will have to adhere to new, tighter rules for noisier aircraft and the new night closure will also apply to cargo,” reads the airport’s statement.
Ruud Sondag, the CEO of the Royal Schiphol Group, which manages Amsterdam’s airport, says the Schiphol proposals demonstrate that “we mean business.”
“We have thought about growth but too little about its impact for too long,” he said in a statement. “We need to be sustainable for our employees, the local environment and the world. I realise that our choices may have significant implications for the aviation industry, but they are necessary.”
Many of the currently scheduled Schiphol night flights are operated by KLM or its subsidiary Transavia. In response to Schiphol suggestions, KLM said in a statement that the airline was “astonished,” and planned to put forward alternative proposals later this year.