(Bloomberg) -- JetBlue Airways Corp. asked US authorities to bar Dutch carrier KLM from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport if it loses access to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, a part of its recent European expansion.
JetBlue sought the ban among proposals for lesser possible sanctions, saying in a filing with the US Transportation Department that it is the only equitable remedy to losing takeoff and landing rights at Schiphol with new capacity cuts planned by the Dutch government. JetBlue began serving Amsterdam from JFK in August, and from Boston’s Logan International in September.
The plan to limit capacity at state-owned Schiphol is aimed at curbing noise and lowering the carbon footprint of flying at one of Europe’s biggest hubs for long-distance flights. It has triggered objections from airlines including KLM, the Dutch flagship carrier which is still partly owned by the government.
Given its “imminent expulsion” from the Amsterdam airport, “the only proportional schedule reduction would be a suspension of all KLM services at John F. Kennedy International Airport,” JetBlue said in the filing. It asked the agency to promptly take countermeasures if the situation is not fully resolved by Nov. 2, the deadline for allocation of airport flying rights.
JetBlue is stepping up a campaign against the measures that started as far back as February, when it filed a complaint against the Dutch government citing the Open Skies Air Transport agreement between the US and the European Union. The US airline previously sought limits on KLM’s access to US airports.
“We have repeatedly pointed out to the Dutch government the possible consequences that a forced contraction could bring in the form of retaliation,” KLM said in an emailed statement. “This is very damaging for KLM and endangers the network that connects the Netherlands with the rest of the world.”
JetBlue and the Transportation Department had no immediate response to Bloomberg requests for comment. The airline began flying to London in 2021 and expanded to Paris this year. JetBlue’s suggestion of the KLM suspension was reported earlier by news agency ANP.
A representative for Schiphol referred Bloomberg requests for comment to its government, saying the JetBlue complaint was a matter between the US and Dutch authorities. Dutch government representatives had no immediate comment.
The plan would limit capacity at Schiphol to 452,000 flights next year, down about 9.6% from current levels. The US airline has also suggested KLM transfer some of its own takeoff-and-landing rights at Schiphol to JetBlue to allow it to continue flying there.
Absent specific countermeasures, KLM will be able to maintain and potentially increase its US service while JetBlue and other US airlines are forced to reduce flying in the US-Netherlands market, JetBlue’s filing said.
KLM, the Dutch arm of Air France-KLM, has taken the Dutch government to court over the capacity caps, claiming it violates international regulation and harms connectivity. In its response to the JetBlue letter, KLM said its transatlantic partnership with Delta Air Lines Inc., Air France and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd is important for its future.
--With assistance from Sarah Jacob and Kate Duffy.
(Updates with JetBlue comment in fourth paragraph)
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