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JetBlue Will Exit Amsterdam Market in 2024

JetBlue will not be granted slots at Amsterdam Schiphol in Summer 2024 and will be forced to vacate the airport.

JetBlue’s first passenger-carrying Heathrow arrival (Photo: JetBlue)

The Dutch slot coordinator, Airport Coordination Netherlands, or ACNL, confirmed that JetBlue will not have any landing and take-off slots at Schiphol next summer. This is amid a series of reductions that Schiphol is to undertake in the coming years to reduce the environmental impacts of the airport. 

JetBlue currently has two daily flights into Schiphol, from JFK and Boston. Both routes were launched earlier this year during the summer season of 2023 and were planned to continue into the winter season and onwards. The airline was confident going into the market and was determined to ‘lower fares and enhance the customer experience for those flying between the U.S. and Amsterdam,’ as JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes has commented.  

The airline has recently launched further expansions in the transatlantic market, building on its success with the current routes to London and Paris. From Summer 2024, new daily flights to Paris from Boston and additional flights from New York-JFK will be launched. New seasonal destinations, Dublin and Edinburgh, will also receive daily flights throughout the summer season, with less premium-focused A321neos operating the routes. 

Schiphol Controversy 

The previous Dutch government proposed a cap on flight movements in Schiphol with the goal of reducing noise pollution in the area as well as greenhouse emissions. The original proposal was to reduce the number from 500,000 per year to 460,000, but the Dutch transport minister has announced that it will be capped at 452,000 instead from next summer, according to Reuters. The government has previously expressed a desire to cap the flights at 440,000, even lower than the proposed cap and represent a cut of over 10 percent of current flights. 

There are still uncertainties surrounding the case, with some stakeholders still hopeful that the course will reverse. Airlines including KLM, the base carrier at Schiphol, have appealed with the Dutch court and foreign government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, have expressed their concerns to the Dutch government regarding the drastic reduction. With the Tweede Kamer election in less than a month’s time and a new government expected to form, the policy could change. 

Impacts

Air India has recently operated its last flight from Schiphol as it also failed to obtain the appropriate slots. Having entered the market just earlier this year, Air India did not have historical slots at the airport and was not going to last until next summer regardless if the cap goes into effect. All airlines with historical rights will receive 3.1% fewer slots, while 24 airlines that do not have such rights will not get any slots to operate. JetBlue is believed to be among the 24 airlines. 

JetBlue has encouraged the U.S. government to take reciprocal actions if the Schiphol cap goes into effect, suggesting restrictions on KLM flights flying into JFK. Such practices are not uncommon as national aviation authorities tend to protect their home carriers wherever possible. Reciprocal measures can also be expected from other countries as more airlines become impacted. It is a concern for KLM that other countries might attempt to restrict KLM flights from Amsterdam, according to KLM CEO Marjan Rintel. 

A KLM A330-300 touching down in Amsterdam (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

KLM will also take a blow to its network when the cap goes into effect and it will have to operate with around 17 fewer daily flights. As an airline that operates around a hub-and-spoke system and relies partly on transit traffic, the reduction can affect its revenue and ability to connect to certain destinations. KLM-Air France have protested the cap on multiple occasions as its implementation looms closer. Some speculate its recent acquisition of SAS stake has been influenced by the cap and has strategic significance for the growth of the group. 

Schiphol’s position as one of the major hubs in global aviation will be threatened as its competitors such as Istanbul grow while it is forced to reduce traffic. There will also be impacts on the ticket fare as competition on many routes out of Amsterdam will disappear. 

Anthony Bang An

Author

  • Anthony Bang An

    Anthony is an airline enthusiast who also loves traveling. He grew up around the world from St. Louis to Singapore and now lives in Amsterdam. He loves long-haul flying and finds peace in the sound of engine cruising. Fresh out of high school, he aspires to be working in the aviation industry and share his passion for the sky. 

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