25.5 million passengers arrive at or change planes at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport every year. This makes it the second-largest airport in the EU. Private jets and night flights are now to be banned there from the end of 2025. This will lead to “quieter, cleaner and better air traffic,” according to the airport.

Larger and more noisy airplanes, like the Boeing 747, will no longer have permission to land. The residents and climate activists in the Amsterdam suburb are pleased with Schiphol’s efforts to enhance the local living conditions. This decision is expected to have an impact across Europe, as other cities may consider implementing similar regulations in the future.

In numerical terms, this would result in approximately 10,000 less aircraft annually landing at Schiphol, as their flights would be canceled due to the prohibition. The government has recently issued instructions for the airport to decrease the number of flights from 500 to 440 thousand, which means an extra 40 thousand flights will be eliminated starting in November 2023.

Ruud Sondag, CEO of Royal Schiphol Group, emphasizes the need to shift our focus from growth alone to considering the expenses involved. He stresses the importance of sustainability for our employees, the environment, and the world.

Airlines are concerned about potential financial losses due to a lawsuit challenging the guidelines.

The changes have been a source of complaint for travel agencies and airlines. KLM, a Dutch airline operating primarily from Schiphol airport, expressed surprise and stated their desire for coordinated action within the entire air travel sector. However, the absence of concrete plans from major airlines may explain why Schiphol decided not to wait.

The shrinking of flight numbers at Schiphol was followed by a lawsuit by KLM and four other airlines in fear of having reduced profits. Early April 2023, a Dutch court now overruled the directive due to an issue regarding formalities in the law-making process. 

The court’s decision has left climate activists feeling let down as it significantly hampers the progress of reducing CO2 emissions in the Netherlands. Now, their optimism rests on the airport’s solitary endeavor to save at least a quarter of the government’s targeted CO2 reduction.

Germany is considering a future ban on private jets due to their negative impact on the environment.

Sussane Menge, an expert in German air travel, views private jets as a significant environmental inequality and urges German airports to adopt measures like Schiphol Airport to address the increasing levels of CO2 emissions.

German air travel expert Susanne Menge states that it is no longer believable that numerous individuals are currently fighting against global warming through house insulation and heating system replacements, while a small portion continues to emit jet fuel without any concern for the future.

The German Greens have recently stated that they are contemplating suggesting a comparable measure, potentially with the backing of the opposition party “die Linke” (the Left). However, the fate of this proposed law remains uncertain.

Most wealth – Most emissions

The calculations show that in 2019, before the Private jet boom began, private jets were responsible for emitting 899,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). In contrast, the average global individual emitted approximately 4.78 tons of CO2 in the same year.

A person with average carbon emission would take more than 627 thousand years to produce the amount of CO2 a billionaire emits in a Year. (Foto: Nate / Unsplash)

Given these facts, it becomes even more perplexing when one takes into account that the emission of 899 thousand tons of carbon dioxide is attributed to approximately 22 thousand jets. This implies that these roughly 22,000 owners of private aircraft emit the same amount as around 188,000 individuals. Furthermore, this only accounts for their jets, and when considering other extravagant possessions, these figures can escalate to an astonishing 3 million tons annually for the wealthiest 1 percent.

An individual with typical carbon emissions would require over 627,000 years to generate the same quantity of CO2 emitted by a billionaire in one year. Given the diminishing CO2 allowance, increasing temperatures, and growing wealth disparity, contemplating measures like this may become imperative throughout Europe in the coming years.