Aviation Policy

A new approach path

Background and question

Air traffic volume has grown significantly around the world, including in the Netherlands. Air traffic helps to improve the Netherlands' international accessibility. Noise pollution and the emission of particulate matter and carbon dioxide mean, however, that air travel is increasingly at odds with a healthy and pleasant living environment and climate objectives. These conflicting interests, combined with a decline in the public's trust in government and the aviation sector, call for a new approach to aviation policy.

In this advisory report, the Council considers whether a new approach is possible in aviation policy and, if so, whether it will lead to a change in the principles that underpin national policy and to new policy options. The report explores a range of national policy mechanisms and how these can be augmented.

Jordi Huisman Hollandse Hoogte


In its advisory report, the Council argues that aviation should be regarded much more as an ordinary business sector – no different than any other. Considerations of safety, the quality of the natural and living environment, nuisance and carbon dioxide all impose limits on the volume of air traffic. Like other economic sectors, aviation will have to develop within these limits.

In its advisory report, the Council elaborates on this new perspective by making the following recommendations:

  • Set well-defined  limit values  for aviation.
  • Apply the ALARA principle (as low as reasonably achievable).
  • Develop a Dutch climate policy for aviation with reduction targets for carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Gain public trust through strict enforcement and sanctioning.
  • See that the polluter pays.
  • Focus more on passenger behaviour (and on influencing that behaviour).
  • Concentrate on the international accessibility of the Netherlands and reconsider the concept of network quality within that context.

The Council has suggested a number of specific actions that can serve to implement this new approach in the real world, including reducing the nuisance of air traffic at night and making it compulsory for fuel suppliers to Dutch airports to blend conventional kerosene with sustainable fuel.

Because Dutch aviation operates in an international arena, the Netherlands will preferably advocate for changes in the above-mentioned aspects at EU and international level. In reality, however, global consensus on this issue is still a long way off. The Council therefore believes that the Netherlands should, where possible, pursue its own policy to tackle the problems in aviation.


On 18 April 2019, the Council presented its advisory report Aviation policy: a new approach path to Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Comparative study

To prepare this advisory report, the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure commissioned an analysis comparing government policy in the aviation sector with government policy in a number of other mobility and business sectors, i.e. rail transport, shipping, inland shipping, road transport and heavy industry. This comparative study considered the entire body of legislation, policy measures and the allocation of official responsibilities. The final report by the KWINK group can be downloaded here. (in Dutch only)

More information

For more information about the advisory report, please contact Bart Swanenvleugel, project manager, bart.swanenvleugel@rli.nl (link sends e-mail)