Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (EHAM) intends to ban private jets and small business aircraft starting in 2025 as part of a wider strategy to introduce a system that focuses on the structural reduction of noise and carbon dioxide (COs) emissions in line with the Paris climate agreement. According to the Dutch airport operator, business aviation flights cause a “disproportionate amount of noise nuisance and CO2 emissions per passenger.” It maintains that business flights produce “around 20 times” more CO2 than commercial flights.
The airport’s revamped environmental strategy, announced on Tuesday, also includes a ban on night flights and nixes a project for an additional runway. However, police and ambulance flights would continue to be allowed.
“We have thought about growth but too little about its impact for too long,” said Royal Schiphol Group CEO Ruud Sondag. “We need to be sustainable for our employees, the local environment, and the world. I realize that our choices may have significant implications for the aviation industry, but they are necessary.”
It is unclear how a court ruling on Wednesday blocking the Dutch government’s imposition of a reduction in flights at the airport might specifically mean for the proposed ban on business aircraft. The ruling was made against the government rather than against the plans proposed by the management of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, but these could be reviewed in the wake of the judge’s decision.
Schiphol ranks as the Netherlands’ busiest business aviation airport. With 16,456 movements, it accounted for half of the country’s private flights in 2022. Aviapartners and Jet Aviation provide FBO/ground handling services for general and business aviation aircraft at EHAM.
Schiphol said that about 30 to 50 percent of private jet flights are to holiday destinations like Ibiza, Spain; Cannes, France; and Innsbruck, Austria, and asserted that “sufficient scheduled services are available to the most popular destinations flown to by private jets.”
European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) data shows that Amsterdam-Paris Le Bourget ranks as the airport’s busiest route, followed by Amsterdam to/from the UK's London Luton, Biggin Hill, and Farnborough. Business aircraft operators will now have to start considering alternatives such as Rotterdam The Hague Airport (EHRD), 46 miles to the southwest of the center of Amsterdam, and Lelystad Airport (EHLE), which is 34 miles to the east. Schiphol is just 14 miles from the city center.
In a statement to AIN, EBAA noted that “banning business aviation at Schiphol can lead to a significant loss of income for the Dutch economy, while the CO2 savings achieved by banning business aviation is minimal. This is less than half a percent of emissions from all departing international flights, according to research by CE Delft for Greenpeace.”
The Brussels-based trade body, which is increasingly challenging criticism of business aviation on environmental grounds, also remarked that “flights in our sector almost never cause noise nuisance because they are usually small aircraft.”