News: The preliminary scheme and our response

In the summer of 2022, the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management (I&W) announced that the number of aircraft movements at Schiphol must be reduced from 500,000 to 440,000. Recently, the Ministry of I&W consulted on a proposal for a preliminary scheme that would temporarily set a cap of 460,000 movements. We are happy to explain how this works and to share our reaction to the plans.

Published on: 13 March 2023

An end to anticipatory enforcement

Lowering the number of aircraft movements at Schiphol is not something that can happen overnight. Due to European regulations, the minister must first go through a number of steps. You can read more about this at In the meantime, the minister plans to implement several other measures. One of these is to end the so-called anticipatory enforcement of noise standards by 1 November 2023. This means that when noise limits are exceeded, no measures will be imposed if these are the result of applying strict preferential runway use (whereby we handle air traffic on the preferential runways - Kaagbaan and Polderbaan - as much as possible). With this preliminary scheme, the minister wants strict preferential runway usage to continue in combination with an update to the enforcement point limit values. This is explained below.

Preliminary scheme

During the preliminary scheme, which applies to operating year 2024 but can potentially be extended by one year, we must be able to implement the current rules regarding runway use within a system of noise limits at enforcement points. These enforcement point limit values must be adjusted in order to maintain strict preferential runway use, as well as other nuisance-reducing measures for local residents and safety measures. This means a maximum of 460,000 aircraft movements per year.

I&W submitted the preliminary scheme for consultation at the end of January. This means that anyone who wanted to do so has been able to react to the plans over the past period. These reactions are mostly public and can be read here. The Schiphol Local Community Council (ORS) has also been asked to issue advice. You can read the advice here (only Dutch).

Certainty and perspective for all

Naturally, we have our own thoughts on the minister's plans, and we have therefore submitted a response to the internet consultation. In it, we emphasise the importance of eliminating the uncertainty and ambiguity that currently exists. This temporary scheme will achieve this as an interim step, but we certainly do not see it as a final solution.

Once the temporary scheme takes effect, Schiphol is obliged to include the maximum capacity of 460,000 flights per year in its capacity declarations for the winter season 2023-2024 and the summer season 2024. At the same time, we believe that a new Airport Traffic Decree containing hard environmental limits should be initiated as soon as possible. Environmental limits that make it clear to the aviation sector what is and is not possible, and that let our local residents know where they stand. There should also be room for reward within these limits for when aviation proves to be quieter and cleaner.