It appears that JetBlue will be forced out of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport next year and now the carrier is calling for retaliation by US officials…against KLM.
JetBlue Wants US DOT To Punish KLM For Dutch Government’s Amsterdam Flight Limits
The Dutch government is proceeding with its silly new “green” flight cap and pursuant to that aim, will restrict annual flights from 500,000 to 452,500, a reduction of about 10%.
To reach that goal, per Bloomberg, 24 airlines “without historical rights and slots” at the airport will lose their current slots. Then, those with historical slots will be forced to trim their flight schedules by 3.1%.
JetBlue does not have “historic rights” at AMS and only began service from Boston and New York earlier this year.
Facing the prospect of being forced to cancel flights, JetBlue wants the US Department of Transportation to ban KLM from New York JFK:
“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.”
Is this a foolish proposal or is it a reasonable countermeasure to the action of the Dutch government?
KLM is the flag carrier of The Netherlands but is privately-owned and has been a vocal opponent of the new flights caps. While I strongly oppose the actions of the Dutch government (which strike me as similar to the serious overreactions of many governments during the pandemic without consideration to their damaging effects), seeking revenge on KLM will only make a bad matter even worse.
Consumers will suffer due to the lack of JetBlue service with higher fares and more limited schedules. But if KLM was also banned, the effects would be even worse: fares would be higher and schedules even more limited.
I think there is great merit in the US, for whatever influence it may have, seeking to convince the Dutch government to limit these measures to shorthaul flights. But punishing KLM strikes me as almost as a non-sequitur and the principle of punishing bad behavior with bad behavior is not constructive.
However, unlike One Mile At A Time, I do appreciate the case JetBlue is making for this countermeasure: if the Dutch government is acting in a manner detrimental to a US carrier, the US can respond in kind. And while KLM is certainly protesting the new flight caps, it stands to benefit most of all by forcing out low-cost competition on both shorthaul and longhaul routes.
While the impending flight cuts at AMS are foolish and ill-timed, they are not targeted at JetBlue or the United States. Therefore, the contention by JetBlue that the US should retaliate by blocking KLM strikes me as precisely the wrong move to set. Instead, the US should set the example by working to improve its airspace over New York so it can handle even more flights, including increased service from both JetBlue and KLM. And yet I do appreciate JetBlue’s point: it’s not unreasonable, just not a great idea.
Is there something I am missing? Does JetBlue have reasonable point that the US should punish KLM?