04 May 2022, by Victoria Séveno

After the May school holidays left travellers at Schiphol Airport facing significant delays and long queues, management has apologised for the inconvenience caused by staff shortages and announced that the number of outgoing flights will be capped over the summer to avoid further chaos. 

Schiphol CEO apologises for delays and long queues

Schiphol Airport – the largest Dutch airport and one of the busiest airports in Europe – has long faced increasing passenger numbers and staff shortages, further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and recent disagreements with ground staff over salaries and work contracts. These issues came to a head at the end of April, when an unexpected strike amongst KLM baggage handlers meant dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed. 

Even after the dispute seemed to be resolved, passengers travelling via Schiphol have continued to face large crowds and queues of up to two hours throughout the meivakantie. Now, with only a few days left until children return to school next week, airport management has apologised for the disruption and inconvenience travellers have experienced – but also warned travellers that further delays are expected this weekend. 

“The May holiday, as we are now experiencing it at Schiphol, hurts,” CEO Dick Benschop told the press. “I apologise for this…[it is] not the level of quality you should expect.” On Tuesday evening, speaking as a guest on the RTL show Beau, Benschop explained that the recent issues had arisen as the airport “focused too much on costs and too little on quality.” 

Dutch airport to cap outgoing flights during busy periods

In order to prevent similar issues over the extremely busy summer holidays, Benschop announced that airport management would hold discussions with airlines and other travel companies to determine a system for capping the number of outgoing flights over the summer. 

“It is clear to us that the summer has to be different,” he stated. “This must not happen again.” Benschop plans to set a cap for the number of flights leaving from Schiphol during the busiest periods of the year, and has warned travellers that some flights over the summer period may be cancelled.

In order to avoid further disputes with current staff – and hopefully make Schiphol a more appealing workplace to those looking for a job – the airport is also planning to raise salaries. ”We must above all ensure that we become an attractive place to work,” the CEO told the press. “We need to look at the remuneration so that we can attract more staff to Schiphol.”

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