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JetBlue Secures Amsterdam Slots Amid Dutch Government’s Flight Cap Proposal

JetBlue's position at Schiphol had been threatened since the Dutch government planned to limit flights at the airport

by Fergus Cole

February 7, 2024

Photo: Courtesy of JetBlue

JetBlue has secured the landing slots necessary to operate flights to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) this summer after fears that it could lose them due to flight caps proposed by the Dutch government.

JetBlue only began operating transatlantic flights to Amsterdam Schiphol less than a year ago, first connecting the major Dutch hub with nonstop flights from New York – John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) during the summer 2023 season.

Photo: Courtesy of Amsterdam-Schiphol. Airport

These new flights were added as part of JetBlue’s wider attempt to establish a competitive transatlantic network, which also includes current services to London Heathrow (LHR) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), as well as seasonal services to Dublin (DUB) and Edinburgh (EDI) set to start this spring.

However, JetBlue’s position at Schiphol has been under threat since it first began operating flights there, as the Dutch government announced plans to limit the number of flights permitted at the airport.

The flight cap was proposed to cut noise pollution at the airport—one of Europe’s busiest hubs—and would have cut the number of flights to just 450,000 per year, around 10% below pre-pandemic levels.

Photo: Courtesy of JetBlue Airways

This reduction would have jeopardized JetBlue’s Schiphol flights, and the New York-based carrier asked the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to limit Dutch flag carrier KLM’s JFK operations in response.

The DOT subsequently found the Dutch government’s proposals to violate the U.S.-EU. Open Skies agreement, while the European Commission also raised concerns that the Schiphol flight cut would harm competition.

Luckily for JetBlue, the Dutch government’s flight reduction plans were put on hold in mid-November 2023 under pressure from both the U.S. and the E.U., and the airline’s takeoff and landing slots for the summer 2024 season have now been secured, the European Commission has confirmed.

The decision was welcomed by the European Commission, which said it had been closely monitoring market conditions at Amsterdam Schiphol and the anti-competitive effect that the Blue Skies joint venture between Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines, and Virgin Atlantic has on the Amsterdam-New York market.

Photo: Courtesy of Airbus

According to the European Commission, its investigations found that increased competition on the route is “necessary to remedy the distortive effects of the joint ventures.”

“In late IATA Summer 2023 season, U.S. carrier JetBlue started offering daily direct passenger transport services on the Amsterdam-New York and Amsterdam-Boston routes,” said the European Commission. “JetBlue’s entry revived competition to the benefit of consumers between the three airlines offering direct transatlantic services at Amsterdam airport, namely: two Blue Skies members (KLM and Delta) and United Airlines.”

The European Commission confirmed that JetBlue had improved its slot portfolio at Amsterdam Schiphol and had now obtained all the slots needed to operate there throughout the upcoming summer season.

“As a result, consumers will not be deprived of choice at a time of strong demand for transatlantic services,” said the European Commission. “The Commission will continue its monitoring ahead of the IATA Summer 2025 Season.”