JetBlue asks US to ban KLM from JFK if planned Schiphol curbs take place

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – U.S. carrier JetBlue Airways said on Tuesday it had asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to ban Air France’s KLM from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, if planned Schiphol Airport curbs take place, saying they violate the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement.

The Dutch government last month said it would move ahead with plans to cap the number of flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport next year to reduce noise, a decision that is fiercely opposed by flag carrier KLM and airline industry groups.

Flights will be capped at 452,500 per year, almost 10% below 2019 levels and lower than a previous proposal of 460,000.

“If the Dutch Government is allowed to effectively expel new entrant JetBlue from AMS without facing any consequential and proportional countermeasures from the Department, other governments may decide to follow suit”, JetBlue said.

In September, JetBlue filed a complaint against the Netherlands and the European Union with the U.S. government over the matter.

On Tuesday, KLM said it had warned the Dutch government about possible retaliation.

“This is very harmful for KLM and endangers the network that connects the Netherlands with the rest of the world”, the airline said.

A spokesperson for the Dutch government said on Tuesday that their Schiphol decision will have no impact on the number of available airline traffic rights, “as exchanged between States in the EU-US Open Skies aviation treaty”, adding that on Nov. 2 airlines will be informed about how many slots they’ll have to reduce for the summer of 2024.

“It could also become clear to some airlines that they will not receive slots for the 2024 summer season. This will be an important moment for many airlines, countries, including for JetBlue.”

(Reporting by Charlotte Van Campenhout; editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)