Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, one of Europe's busiest and host to the most passenger transfers for travelers headed elsewhere, is at its legal limit of 500,000 flight operations a year, but a new plan to let it add another 40,000 is getting strong opposition.
Airport authorities and the Dutch government worry that without growth, the airport will lose some of its lucrative transfer business, but every plan proposed so far has upset one group or another, with many fearing more noise and other pollution.
The proposed increase in operations, which would take effect in 2021, is under fire not only from environmental organizations but from powerful political groups in the Amsterdam area. They complain that while farmers and homeowners face ever-increasing clean air and climate mitigation rules, the airport expansion would allow airlines to break them, as well as making life at night under the flight paths intolerable.
A previous plan, to move shorter-route flights to a new airfield at a former air force base at Lelyveld was shot down by airlines that value the Schiphol connection and neighbors at Lelyveld who don't want the traffic. But most airport and airline-connected groups believe something must be done for Schiphol's growth; the difficulty is what.