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IATA upbeat on global passenger demand

klm aircraft schiphol
klm aircraft schiphol

But row over Schiphol capacity limits rages on  

According to IATA’s global January analysis of the air transport market, the year got off to a flying start for passenger demand in 2023.  Revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs rose 67.0% compared to January 2022 and globally, traffic is now at 84.2% of January 2019 levels.

Domestic traffic for January 2023 rose 32.7% compared to the year-ago period, helped by the lifting of the zero-COVID policy in China. Total January 2023 domestic traffic was at 97.4% of the January 2019 level. Meanwhile international traffic climbed 104.0% versus January 2022 with all markets recording strong growth.

Major hubs like London Heathrow reported that over 5.4 million passengers travelled through the London airport in January, the busiest start of the year since 2020. However, others like Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, want to see a reduction from 500,000 to 460,000 flights per year and this hasn’t gone down well with some airlines and various industry bodies. Schiphol believes that a new Airport Traffic Decree containing hard environmental limits should be initiated as soon as possible to improve air quality, noise pollution and the climate.

IATA believes the Netherlands is handicapping its economy by destroying connectivity and it is doing it in contravention of EU law and its international obligations. Meanwhile Schiphol insists that it is fully committed to reducing noise nuisance and emissions.

“It is especially disappointing to see the Dutch government making plans to limit their movements at Schiphol Airport,”

Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General
klm aircraft schiphol

“With strong travel demand continuing through the traditionally slower winter season in the Northern Hemisphere, the stage is set for an even busier spring and summer. At a time when many are just beginning to enjoy their newly restored travel freedoms, it is especially disappointing to see the Dutch government making plans to limit their movements by unilaterally and unjustly reducing operations at Schiphol Airport,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

IATA is stressing that the airline industry continually deploys quieter aircraft, reducing noise levels by 50% in the last decade. The investment in new fleet also plays a significant role in meeting the aviation industry’s commitment to reduce its CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050, as set out in a Resolution at the IATA AGM in 2021. The industry’s robust plan for reducing CO2 includes the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels, of which airlines operating in and to the Netherlands have been among the leading users.

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