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Response from Reinier Castelein from the trade union De Unie on the Schiphol shrinkage decision

01 September 2023

Uncontrolled loss of connection with the outside world due to reckless decision.

“Recklessly choosing to shrink is a choice for an uncontrolled loss of connections with foreign countries while aviation is growing explosively worldwide. Outgoing VVD minister Harbers will implement the D66 policy until the last breath," says Reinier Castelein, chairman of the Trade Union. De Unie. 


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 “Air connections, just like highways and train rails, are part of our country's infrastructure. This decision can be compared to making the A1 15 lane. In that case, much less transport would take place via the port of Rotterdam. Schiphol is part of the gateway to Europe. You should open that gate, not close it.” explains Castelein.


"With this strategy, the Netherlands is damaging an important economic connecting artery. A choice that is not well substantiated, and is also based on outdated figures from 2014, when noisier aircraft were still flown. This decision was mainly taken for political image rather than substantive accuracy. The perception of noise pollution will not decrease. 


Due to regulations on the disappearance of slots, KLM will be hit disproportionately hard. In doing so, the government is playing into the hands of airlines such as Qatar and Emirates. These companies have poorer working conditions and refuel in their own country for the return flight. This makes them demonstrably more polluting than KLM. Cutting the aviation infrastructure leads to many Dutch job losses of high-quality trained professionals.”


“Schiphol's hub function will come under pressure, which will lead to economic damage in other sectors, which will ultimately also cause social damage.”


“The Netherlands is being 'taken back' by the Americans at destinations over which KLM has no influence.” According to Castelein, this is a major risk that the minister is recklessly ignoring. “An airline's precarious network thrives on reliability. It is not without reason that KLM had the slogan 'the reliable airline' for years. Harbers' choice is a choice for an uncontrolled loss of connections abroad while aviation is growing explosively worldwide." The trade unionist cannot explain it. “It is unimaginable that a VVD minister makes this choice. And all this while he is outgoing.”



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