02 May 2022, by Victoria Séveno

As the Netherlands enters the second week of the May school holidays, the long queue and large crowds at Schiphol Airport continue, resulting in significant delays for travellers. 

Schiphol Airport struggles to keep up with passenger numbers

The meivakantie – typically one of the busiest times of the year for Dutch airports – kicked off with an unexpected strike amongst KLM baggage handlers on April 23, leading to a number of flights being severely delayed or even cancelled, and leaving families disappointed about disrupted holiday plans. 

Even once the strike was called off and unions appeared to reach an agreement with KLM management, the chaos at Schiphol Airport continued. With the airport suffering from considerable staff shortages following the coronavirus pandemic, management called on airlines to scrap flights over the weekend to prevent excessive crowds. At Schiphol’s request, KLM cancelled at least 47 flights, while other airlines – including Transavia, Tui and Corendon – rerouted flights to other airports in the Netherlands. 

Holidaymakers face long queues and delays at biggest Dutch airport

In spite of these scheduling changes, travellers continued to face excessive queues and long wait times over the weekend. On Saturday, some passengers faced queues of up to two hours for security, while others had to wait outside for their baggage after landing. Firefighters handed out bottles of water to passengers queueing to check in for their flights.

“It was very busy at the airport all afternoon,” a spokesperson said on Sunday, “but the crowds are and were manageable.” The airport expects large crowds on Monday too, but is confident that the worst is over. “It will still be a holiday on Monday, so it is very likely that it will be busy again and people will have to wait longer than usual.”

Mark Harbers, State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, has recognised the issues staff and travellers currently face at the Netherlands’ biggest airport, but says it’ll take some time before these will be resolved: “Staff shortages are a problem that extends beyond the aviation sector, and which cannot be solved 1, 2, 3.”

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