WASHINGTON- The US government has given its approval to the complaints raised by JetBlue Airways (B6) and the trade group Airlines for America (A4A) against the Netherlands government and the European Union.
These complaints are related to alleged violations concerning capacity reductions at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS). As a result, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently engaged in negotiations with Dutch authorities to find a resolution.
US Govt Approves JetBlue Complain Over Amsterdam Cuts
The DOT has instructed Dutch airlines to provide their flight schedules for flights to the United States as part of a broader regulatory response to the capacity reductions at Schiphol.
On November 2, Airlines for America also requested the Department of Transportation (DOT) to postpone any further action regarding the approval of a request from the German long-haul startup, USC, to operate flights to the United States.
The core issue pertains to the Dutch government’s strategy to mitigate noise pollution at Schiphol Airport by reducing the number of available take-off and landing slots, a plan set to commence next summer.
As a result, Airlines for America argues that US carriers will lose a total of 339 slots at Schiphol, with JetBlue being the most affected, as it will lose its access to the airport.
JetBlue had recently initiated flights to Europe as part of its diversification strategy, launching flights to Schiphol from New York in August and Boston in September.
Filed Complaints with DOT
Both the trade group and JetBlue have filed complaints with the DOT in recent months, alleging that the capacity reductions violate US and European laws, as well as the US-EU Air Transport Agreement.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has made the decision to approve the joint complaint filed by members of Airlines for America (A4A) and JetBlue, as stated in its order on November 2.
The DOT acknowledges that the capacity reductions violate the air transport agreement and notes that the Netherlands did not adhere to the “balanced approach” required by an EU regulation. This regulation mandates that EU member states assess the competitive implications of noise-related airline operating restrictions and explore “less-restrictive alternatives.”
The DOT further underscores that in its discussions with the Dutch Ministry, it has raised significant concerns and objections regarding the Dutch government’s methodology for implementing its noise-reduction plan.
The plan is deemed to constitute an unjustifiable, unreasonable, discriminatory, and anti-competitive practice.
Of particular concern to the DOT is the fact that JetBlue will not be allocated any slots next summer, and the DOT is apprehensive about the Netherlands’ intentions to further reduce capacity at Schiphol in November 2024.
Talks with Dutch Govt
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has agreed to “initiate consultations” with the Netherlands and the European Union (EU).
Dutch airlines, including KLM, Martinair, and TUI Airlines Nederland, have been given a seven-day deadline to submit their US schedules. The DOT also mentions that diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue have been ongoing since January.
JetBlue expressed the belief that both the US and Dutch governments have a responsibility, as per the open-skies agreement, to ensure that JetBlue maintains access at Amsterdam’s primary airport. They are committed to engaging with all stakeholders to secure JetBlue’s continued presence in Amsterdam.
In a separate development, Airlines for America (A4A) requested on November 2 that the DOT postpone any further actions related to approving US flights by the German airline USC. A4A considered such approval to be “premature” given the ongoing Schiphol dispute.
USC had applied to the DOT in June for a foreign air carrier permit to operate charters between the European Union and the USA.
While the DOT approved USC’s permit on November 1, it’s noted that this approval could potentially be reversed by President Joe Biden, according to regulatory documents.
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