Schiphol Airport has announced that it supports the government’s intention to ban about half of private flights departing from the airport. The Dutch airport has been ordered to reduce the number of flights to just 460,000 per year in order to meet new environmental and noise pollution targets set by the government. Only 2.5 percent of this may be accounted for by private jets, much less than now.
Royal Schiphol Group will be forced to reduce the number of flight movements by 40,000 from the current cap of half a million, although the airport has not set a timetable for when the reductions would be made. The current government wants the airport to reduce annual flight movements even further, to just 440,000 flights a year, but Schiphol said its plan was a necessary intermediate step
The number of private flights has been growing in recent years. According to Dutch media, the number of ultra-short flights within the Netherlands and Flanders also grew significantly as a result. One in ten private flights is shorter than 200 kilometers.
Small aviation accounts for 20 percent of the noise pollution at Schiphol.Marjan Rintel, KLM CEO
A total of 22,372 private flights took off or landed in 2022, as reported by Simple Flying magazine. Business jets account for much of the noise and environmental burden at the airport; with the new curbing regulation, there should be no more than 11,500. The measure also has the support of KLM, Schiphol’s largest user. “Small aviation accounts for 20 percent of the noise pollution at Schiphol,” KLM chief Marjan Rintel told Dutch media.
A study by institute CE Delft commissioned by Greenpeace would show that a private flight is on average 5 to 7 times more polluting per person than a commercial flight, depending on the type of aircraft.
The use of private jets continues to be on the rise. According to the WingX portal, around 3.3 million private flights were operated worldwide in 2021, seven percent more than before the pandemic. Health concerns and the contraction of commercial aviation gave a boost to the use of private aircraft. In less developed countries, private flying is making it possible to fly to destinations that are not served by airlines or are poorly served by them.
One area of concern raised by some scientists is the impact this boom is having on the environment. According to estimates by The Daily Mail, private aircraft at COP26 could have contributed 13,000 tons of CO2, equivalent to the emissions of 1,600 Britons in a year. The 13,000 tons accounted for 85% of total emissions at the event.
Commercial aviation is estimated to produce around 2% of global CO2 emissions and 12% of the total transport share (compared to 74% for road traffic). If there are between 80,000 and 110,000 commercial flights every day, it is estimated that the number of flights in private jets varies between 10,000 and 11,500 per day. These flights are many cases half empty. The average pollution created by a private flight user is between 5 and 14 times higher than that of the commercial traveler, and 50 times that of the train traveler.
There are almost as many commercial aircraft fleets (26,000) as private ones (22,000). Just 1% of air travelers account for 50% of global aviation emissions. The US is responsible for the vast majority of private flights, according to McKinsey.