(Bloomberg) -- JetBlue Airways Corp. lost access to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport next summer after the Dutch government trimmed capacity at the European hub, limiting takeoff and landing rights across all airlines.
The US carrier started serving Amsterdam in August, putting it at a disadvantage to rivals with longstanding rights. It previously said it would ask US authorities to bar Dutch flag-carrier KLM from John F. Kennedy International Airport by way of retaliation. JetBlue said in a statement Thursday that it will continue working to maintain its presence in Amsterdam.
“We believe the US and Dutch governments have an obligation under our historic Open Skies Agreement to ensure that JetBlue is granted continued access at Amsterdam’s only viable airport,” JetBlue said. The airline said its flights from New York and Boston have “already demonstrated a unique value to customers.”
Carriers with historical rights to Schiphol allocations will have to reduce their slots by 3.1% in the first stage of capacity next year, Hugo Thomassen, managing director of Airport Coordination Netherlands, or ACNL, told Bloomberg. JetBlue was among 24 new entrants denied any takeoff and landing rights, he said.
The 3.1% cull means Air France-KLM’s Dutch unit will lose rights to 5,700 flights in 2024 from the just-completed summer season, including the low-cost Transavia operation. Delta Air Lines Inc., a transatlantic partner to Air France-KLM, has been told to cut 252 takeoffs and landings, and EasyJet Plc will lose 693.
Delta has begun legal proceedings against the decision for conflicting with “national, European andinternational regulations,” the airline said in a statement. “This decision is in violation of the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement and will negatively impact consumers,” the airline said, adding that it believes it’s possible to balance sustainability priorities with passengers’ desire to travel.
EasyJet said it’ll adjust its schedule to conform to the cutbacks, which amount to two round-trip flights per day for the UK discounter.
The Dutch government ultimately plans to reduce annual flights at state-owned Schiphol by about 10% to 452,500 to reduce noise pollution. The restrictions have triggered objections from airlines including KLM, which is still partly owned by the government.
KLM is “disappointed” by its allocation for the season running from late March through October 2024, it said in an emailed statement. The airline said it’s focused on a court appeal challenging the government’s implementation of next year’s cuts on grounds it “does not comply with laws and regulations.”
KLM had already anticipated it would have to fly 17 fewer daily flights next summer. The airline will have to lose some European destinations as a result of the slot constraints, which impacts its long-haul business, KLM Chief Executive Officer Marjan Rintel said in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this week.
--With assistance from Kate Duffy.
(Updates with EasyJet comment in seventh paragraph)
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