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JetBlue Urges DOT: Ban KLM From JFK Over Amsterdam Flight Cuts

The proposed flight reductions at Amsterdam Schiphol threaten JetBlue's slots at the European hub, so the low-cost carrier has taken aim at KLM

by Samir Kadri

October 31, 2023

Photo: KLM, Boeing 777-300ER at Amsterdam Schiphol. Courtesy of KLM

JetBlue has called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to bar Dutch flag carrier KLM from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in response to the prospective implementation of plans to reduce flight capacity – including JetBlue’s entire schedule – in and out of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS).

The proposed cuts would reduce Schiphol’s annual capacity by roughly 10%, from 500,000 flights to 452,000. On October 20, JetBlue penned a letter to the DOT declaring it would lose its slots at Schiphol if the Dutch government goes ahead with the cuts and that banning KLM from JFK would be a “proportional countermeasure.”

Photo: Airbus A321neo LR. Courtesy of JetBlue.

“If the Dutch Government is allowed to effectively expel new entrant JetBlue from AMS without facing any consequential and proportional countermeasures from the Department, other governments may decide to follow suit,” said JetBlue in its letter.

“Nothing less than swift, decisive Departmental action, in the form of the proportional countermeasures JetBlue has described herein, will constitute a sufficient response.”

JetBlue began its transatlantic service to Amsterdam in August this year amid uncertainty, with the Dutch government seeking to curb the number of flights to reduce air and noise pollution in the region.

Several airlines, including Delta, EasyJet, TUI Airways, and KLM, have opposed the Dutch government’s proposal to cut flight capacity at Schiphol Airport.

Photo: Delta Air Lines, Airbus A330-300 at Amsterdam Schiphol. Courtesy of Aron Marinelli / Unsplash

An early court ruling sided with the airlines, decreeing the Dutch government did not comply with European laws that state that flight caps can only be enforced after all other avenues to limiting noise pollution have been exhausted.

However, a Dutch appeals court quashed that ruling, and the Dutch government is now able to enforce the proposed measures in the early parts of 2024.

KLM has panned the plans to reduce capacity at Schiphol, stressing how severe the repercussions would be for the Dutch flag carrier’s global business.

“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. “This is very damaging for KLM and endangers the network that connects the Netherlands with the rest of the world.”

Photo: Courtesy of Amsterdam Schiphol

JetBlue could lose the slots at Schiphol they campaigned so hard for as early as spring 2024, arguing that customers will be left with fewer choices and pricier airfares.

The New York-based low-cost carrier argued that another solution could be KLM transferring some of their summer slots for next summer over to JetBlue.