A group of airlines that includes KLM, Delta and easyJet said Friday they are suing the Dutch government over its plans to reduce the number of flights from Amsterdam's busy Schiphol Airport.
The government said last year it was seeking a "new balance" between the economic benefits provided by Schiphol and its impact on nearby residents and the environment. It is aiming to cut the number of flights per year from a half-million to 440,000.
"In addition to negatively impacting the Dutch economy, the capacity reduction would significantly reduce travel options and connectivity for consumers," the airlines taking legal action said in a statement.
They argue the reduced flights would violate European and international legislation, and say the aviation industry "is already achieving significant results in relation to reducing CO2 emissions and lowering noise levels."
Aviation releases one-sixth of the amount of carbon dioxide produced by cars and trucks, according to World Resources Institute, a nonprofit research group based in Washington, D.C. However, far fewer people per day use airplanes.
The aviation industry has embraced a goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, but experts who track the issue are skeptical.
KLM CEO Marjan Rintel said the Dutch carrier is "embracing the targets set for reducing noise levels and CO2 emissions, investing billions in fleet renewal," while maintaining a network of flights reaching 170 destinations worldwide.
Peter Carter, executive vice president of external affairs for Delta Air Lines, said in the joint statement that the U.S. carrier "strongly objects" to flight cuts at Schiphol and "is committed to ambitious sustainability targets and wants to work collaboratively to meet these goals."
In a written statement emailed to the Associated Press, the Dutch government said it was aware of KLM and other carriers initiating legal proceedings.
"As we are currently facing a potential legal procedure, we cannot at this time respond to the arguments shared by KLM and other parties," the statement said. "We remain committed to reducing the number of aircraft movements to an expected 440.000 by November 2024."
It was not clear when the summary case would be heard in a Dutch courtroom.