Greenpeace: ‘Bailout without climate conditions needs to be revoked’ 

Amsterdam, September 14th – Greenpeace Netherlands is going to court to force the Dutch government to discontinue their bailout for airline KLM, because climate conditions are lacking. As a first step, Greenpeace formally informed the government today. “The government neglects  to make strict agreements for KLM to reduce pollution,” said Dewi Zloch, climate and energy expert at Greenpeace Netherlands. 

This lawsuit could potentially have important consequences for other airline bailouts. Just in Europe alone, governments have supported the airlines with 32.5 billion euros so far. Zloch: “We want a green and just recovery from this crisis. The ongoing bailout for major polluter KLM is at odds with this. This is unacceptable for everyone who works hard towards the transition to a sustainable future. This bailout fuels the climate crisis, breaking the duty of the Dutch government to protect its citizens.” 

KLM lacks a climate action plan

KLM operates without a solid climate action plan and the environmental policy for aviation from the Dutch government is inadequate. “Meanwhile we are flooded with flights, driving ticket prices to the rock-bottom.. This cannot be sustained. Though this bailout is supposed to ensure job security, that is exactly what our government does not achieve. Even though KLM is propped up for now, the major polluter is not made future-proof and thousands of jobs are lost. And that is not only bad news for the climate, the environment, and public health, but also for KLM’s employees who will not have job security in the long run”, said Zloch.

Greenpeace wants the government to implement a CO2 emissions cap for KLM. “This emission cap has to be reduced yearly, in order for the major polluter to emit less every year,” said Zloch: “More sustainable aviation will not be accomplished with the slow measures that are currently in place. Electrical planes or planes that fly with sustainably sourced fuel, for example, will not be available in time. So the number of flights needs to reduce substantially, starting with revoking short-distance flights under a thousand kilometers. It is unnecessary to fly multiple planes between Amsterdam and Brussels or Paris everyday.” The Dutch government has formally until 1 October to respond and enter into discussion with Greenpeace about whether they will meet these demands.

Protest on Schiphol Airport runway in May

Greenpeace has already protested against the KLM billions. In May, protesters biked on a runway at Schiphol Airport between parked planes of KLM. They revealed a banner saying “Back to normal = back to climate crisis”. 

For more information:

Bram Karst, Press Officer Greenpeace Netherlands, [email protected], +31 621 29 68 95

Images of the protest in May are published in the Greenpeace Media Library 

Background information

The summons letter (in Dutch)

KLM was responsible for 8,6 megaton of CO2-emissions in 2018. Source: CE Delft