The confrontation between the United States and the Netherlands over aviation rights is intensifying. Central to this issue are the scarce take-off and landing rights at Schiphol, where American airlines are directly affected by Dutch measures. This conflict exposes a complex dynamic within the international aviation industry, with regulations and competitive interests at stake.
In summary, the aviation sector is on edge now Airlines For America (A4A), the trade association for the major US airlines, has submitted a request to the Department of Transportation (DOT) to postpone the processing of an application by a German airline. This request arises from concerns about compliance with bilateral agreements with the Netherlands, specifically aimed at Schiphol Airport (AMS).
A4A emphasizes that until a solution is found to the issues surrounding AMS, its members retain the right to object not only to the current application, but also to future applications from EU airlines wishing to expand their air traffic to the US. The issue has deepened because A4A has informed the DOT about the consequences of the Dutch redistribution of landing rights at Schiphol, in which 339 slots have been taken away from American airlines.
It is striking that JetBlue, a newcomer to the transatlantic market, has been completely excluded from the slot allocation for the 2024 summer season. In response, the DOT has upheld the complaints of both JetBlue and A4A and is now demanding that Dutch airlines, including KLM, make their flight schedules for services to the US public on the DOT website. This move could form the basis for countermeasures, which could, for example, require KLM to reduce its flight schedules to the US in line with the restrictions imposed on US carriers for their flights to AMS.
In a broader perspective it emphasizes DOT his concerns about the actions of the Dutch government, which appear to hinder new entrants from operating at Schiphol. The fact that JetBlue not being allocated slots for the 2024 season is seen as a serious restriction of competition and a violation of the US-EU aviation agreement. The DOT sees the current course of events as a violation of this agreement and therefore considers the complaints to be justified.
The department subsequently decided that KLM, Martinair en TUI Airlines Netherlands must submit their flight schedules within seven days of the decision. This development puts further pressure on the discussions that will take place on November 13, 2023 between the DOT, the Dutch government and the European Commission. The DOT hopes that these consultations will lead to substantial progress and resolution of the conflict, and wishes to avoid further regulatory action. However, should a satisfactory resolution not be achieved, the DOT is prepared to consider further action.