10 January 2023, by Victoria Séveno
In spite of the various efforts taken by Schiphol to limit passenger numbers and hire new workers, one Dutch trade union has warned that travellers should prepare for more chaotic scenes at the Netherlands’ largest airport from May.
Schiphol sees passenger numbers double between 2021 and 2022
After the coronavirus pandemic practically brought international travel to a standstill in 2020 and 2021, last year Schiphol Airport saw passenger numbers more than double, from 25,5 million in 2021 to 52,5 million in 2022.
In spite of this dramatic increase, however, the number of people travelling via the Netherlands’ largest airport still remains below pre-pandemic levels; in 2019, Schiphol welcomed 71,1 million travellers.
Union expects Dutch airport will struggle during school holidays
Schiphol made international headlines last year as it struggled to keep up with rising passenger numbers amid severe staff shortages, leading to long queues at check-in and security as well as several incidents involving lost baggage. While the airport has worked to step up recruitment and fill jobs, Dutch unions have already warned that 2023 is likely to bring more chaos.
Recent figures revealed that Schiphol needs to fill 800 job vacancies before the current cap on passenger numbers is lifted in April, but this week The Netherlands’ Trade Union Confederation (FNV) reported that the airport continues to face a “sky-high” shortage of staff and will not be ready in time to deal with the rush of holidaymakers over the summer.
According to the FNV, staff workloads are high while salaries remain low, and while the situation in security has improved, a lack of baggage handlers will lead to considerable issues when schools close for the May holidays. Over the coming days, the airport will determine whether it will be capable of operating at full capacity in May, and is due to release an official statement on January 16.
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