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The Netherlands' Schiphol airport has become the first in the world to cut the number of flights by 12 per cent in its bid to reduce pollution and make the industry and aviation more sustainable.

The decision has been taken by the country's government cabinet and the same has been made known to the House of Representatives through a letter signed by the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Mark Harbers, reports.

"Minister Harbers informs the House of Representatives about the cabinet's decision to reduce the maximum number of permitted aircraft movements to and from Schiphol to 440,000 per year. This instead of the 500,000 aircraft movements from the draft Airport Traffic Decree (LVB)," the government notes in a statement published alongside the letter sent to the House of Representatives.

In his letter, the Minister argues that in spite of the Netherlands having an excellent connection with the world, mainly because of the Schiphol Airport, the country must pay the deserved attention to the reduction of the negative effects of aviation on people, the environment and nature.

The Minister also highlights that a reduction in the number of aircraft movements would lead to less noise pollution and fewer emissions of CO2, nitrogen, (ultra) particulate matter and other harmful substances.

He, however, expresses his awareness that the decision will have major consequences on the aviation sector. The reduction in the number of flights will still become effective before the end of 2023.

The decision has been criticized by many, including the General Director of Airports Council International (ACI Europe) Olivier Jankovec, who said that "Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is what makes the Netherlands bigger than it is", insisting that the government's decision to reduce the capacity of the airport will inevitably make the Netherlands smaller.

Within the first week of this month, the Netherlands had also limited the number of passengers who can fly from the airport daily in its bid to tackle the long waiting lines and cancelled flights. The decision will be effective until the end of July but may be extended if the current concerns regarding the influx of passengers at the airport are not resolved.

"If fewer travellers can fly on any given day, the independent slot coordinator (ACNL) will determine distribution, and airlines will decide how to tackle that. They will do everything they can to keep consequences for travellers to a minimum," a statement issued by the Schiphol Airport pointed out in this regard.

In another statement released on June 29, the Schiphol airport authorities have asked passengers to bring as little baggage as possible, as well as to show up at the airport at least four hours before their flight, in order to enable the airport staff to spread out the crowds better and stimulate a smooth flow around the check-in desks and the security control.