US considers retaliation on Dutch airlines for Schiphol flight cuts
US authorities are considering retaliation after a number of American airlines have been affected by the cut in available take-off and landing slots at Schiphol Airport. In recent developments, the US airline JetBlue was denied slots for 2024 at the airport, leading the airline to cease operations at Schiphol just months after their flights began.
JetBlue barred from flying to and from Schiphol airport
The airline in question is headquartered in Long Island City, New York, and serves 104 destinations using its 285-strong fleet of aircraft. Founded in 2000, the airline focuses on flights to and from its major hubs of Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Newark, Orlando and San Juan, but in August extended its routes to fly people between New York, Boston and Amsterdam.
At the time of the expansion, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said that the New York to Amsterdam route is "long overdue for some competition." Little did Hayes know, the Schiphol krimp (shrinkage) would come crashing down on JetBlue only months after their first flights were leaving Amsterdam.
As part of the efforts made by the Dutch government to reduce (noise) pollution around the airport, and more broadly across the Netherlands, Schiphol cut thousands of flights from its 2024 schedule - with all of JetBlue’s slots disappearing from the list.
JetBlue, Delta, mount legal and political challenges against the Netherlands
Alongside JetBlue, other US air carriers have also been affected by the cut in slots. Delta Airlines has also lost a significant number of slots and recently confirmed that they intend to take legal action against the Dutch airport.
JetBlue have taken things a step further, by asking the US transportation authorities to consider banning KLM from flying into New York as an act of retaliation. The airline has filed an official complaint against the Netherlands and the European Union in the US, saying “the Dutch government stands in flagrant violation of the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement," and adding that the move essentially bars new entrants to the market.
The US Department of Transportation has asked Dutch airlines, including big names such as KLM, Transavia and cargo-giant Martinair to communicate their flight schedules as soon as possible, ahead of discussions between the Dutch government and the EU on the matter on November 13.
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