Laws and regulations

As is the case for every airport in the Netherlands, the State Secretary of Infrastructure and the Environment has also issued an airport operation decree (=operating licence) for Rotterdam The Hague Airport, which lays down the regulations for the operation of the airport. The airport operation decree defines the night regime and establishes a noise zone, flight paths, and tolerance areas. The airport operation decree does not set any fixed limit to the number of aircraft movements at Rotterdam The Hague Airport. This limit is in fact determined by the noise zone. The basis for the licence under which Rotterdam The Hague Airport is currently operated was laid in the early 1990s. However, the airport operation decree for Rotterdam The Hague Airport did not come into force until 2001. This marked the end of years of political discussion about the future of the airport. Rotterdam The Hague Airport may remain at its current location, ideally situated in the heart of the Southwest Netherlands, for the next 100 years. The airport operation decree, including amendments and maps, can be consulted on the website of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.

Noise zone determines number of aircraft movements
The airport operation decree does not set a fixed limit to the number of aircraft movements at RTHA. The limit is determined by the noise impact enforcement points established on the basis of the so-called noise zone. This zone delineates the noise impact over a whole year. So you cannot hear the noise zone in the same way that you can hear a plane passing overhead. How the enforcement points are ‘filled’ with noise throughout the year depends on the types of aircraft that take off and land at RTHA, the time of the flight, and the wind direction. This determines how much a flight factors into the calculation of the noise impact. The government uses the noise zone when determining building restrictions. For example, no ‘sensitive’ buildings, such as schools and residential buildings, may be built around the airport. The noise zone is also used to calculate the number of local residents who are seriously inconvenienced by air traffic.

Slot coordination
Rotterdam The Hague Airport has a noise zone and is responsible for not exceeding the limits of this zone. As demand for air transport has grown rapidly in recent decades, Rotterdam The Hague Airport requested slot coordination in March 2004. Airport Coordination Netherlands (ACNL) is the coordinator of airport slots in the Netherlands. ACNL ensures that the available (noise) capacity is distributed among the airlines on the basis of international rules. This is done by issuing slots: permission to land or take off at a specific time.

ACNL is an independent non-profit organisation and is responsible for slot allocation and slot monitoring at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM), and Eindhoven Airport (EIN).

Approach and departure routes take account of the environment
Commercial aircraft that take off or land at RTHA use approach and departure routes, similar to motorway exits and slip roads. These routes are designed by Air Traffic Control the Netherlands and established by the Minister. The design not only takes into account safety and flyability, but also the environment. The routes avoid built-up areas where possible. For example, the departure route along Schiedam has a bend in it near a residential area. Air Traffic Control the Netherlands only allows air traffic to deviate from the routes if this is unavoidable for technical reasons related to the flight. This may be the case in adverse weather conditions (to avoid a thunderstorm, for example) or because of other air traffic in the vicinity of the routes.

Filling of enforcement points

Background information
Rotterdam The Hague Airport has a so-called transposition regulation (which functions as an airport decree) in which the rules surrounding the use of the airport are established. An important part of this decree is constituted by the environmental noise capacity, which is laid down in six enforcement points. These enforcement points indicate the maximum cumulative amount of noise that aircraft landing at and taking off from Rotterdam The Hague Airport may produce in a year. This so-called use year does not run concurrently with a calendar year, but starts on 1 November and ends on 31 October of the following year.

ILT measures
In the use year 2018, Rotterdam The Hague Airport exceeded the annual legal noise level at one enforcement point near Schiedam. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) has therefore imposed the following measure on the airport:

  • Increased monitoring of the enforcement points and specifically the enforcement point near Schiedam.
  • Creating a management plan to prevent an exceedance in use year 2019.

Reports on the filling of enforcement points
The report below gives a weekly update on how the enforcement points are being filled during the year. At Schiedam, particular attention is being paid to enforcement point six, as this is the point most likely to be exceeded. The table below shows the expected total noise levels during the year. This is called ‘Developing Noise’ (or ZOG). ZOG consists of the realised traffic up to and including this week plus the forecast traffic for the remaining period. This forecast is the basis for the issuance of the slots. The actual traffic is calculated on the basis of flights actually carried out, actual runway use, and actual radar tracks. The forecast traffic is based on expected traffic, average runway use, and theoretical radar tracks.

What are the airport charges at Rotterdam the Hague Airport?
The private limited liability company Rotterdam Airport, on behalf of the public limited liability company Luchthaven Schiphol, operator of the designated ‘Rotterdam’ aerodrome, whereas the ‘Airport charges regime’ in force since 1 April 2008 requires revision, in view of Section 36(1) of the Aviation Act, Adopts: Tariffs for the use of the designated ‘Rotterdam’ aerodrome by aircraft, laid down in the ‘Airport charges regime’. Click here for the 2021 airport fees.

Night regime

As an international airport, Rotterdam The Hague Airport is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

During the night, a number of restrictions apply to flights. This is called the night regime. Below, you will find more information about the content of the night regime and the corresponding opening hours.

Arrangements

  • Between 23:00 and 07:00 hours the airport is open for, among other things, aircraft for urgent medical flights (for organ donations, for example), trauma, coastguard, and police helicopters. The airport is also open during these hours for diversions (aircraft that are unable to land at their destination airport due to, for example, weather conditions) and business passenger flights with aircraft that have fewer than 20 seats.
  • Between 23:00 and 00:00, take-offs and landings of delayed large aircraft are allowed, as well as landings by the quietest of large aircraft.
  • Between 00:00 and 01:00, delayed silent large aircraft are allowed to land.
  • Landing position flights are allowed from 06:00. These are aircraft that come in without passengers to start their shift after 07:00.
  • The State (the State Secretary of Infrastructure and the Environment) may grant an exemption in other (special) cases.

Use plan year
A use plan year does not run concurrently with a calendar year, but begins on 1 November and ends on 31 October of the following year. In this use plan year, the transposition regulation* with which the airport must comply will be upheld. This includes the measurements of the maximum noise the airport is allowed to produce. The number of night flights that take place during this period is also monitored. Rotterdam The Hague Airport is open 24 hours a day/7 days a week, but has a strict night regime between 23.00 and 07.00 hours in which only certain types of air traffic are allowed.

*These are agreements that the airport must abide by. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) checks whether the airport complies with these agreements.

Check out the overview of night flights since 2018 below.

General terms and conditions

Airport regulations

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