Schiphol crowds, long lines are here to stay: Airport boss

Long lines at Schiphol airport, 23 Apr 2017
Long lines at Schiphol airport, 23 Apr 2017Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

It seems that crowded halls, long lines and hours of waiting times at Schiphol airport are here to stay. According to CEO Jos Nijhuis, travelers face at least another 100 "black Saturdays" at the airport this year, and the coming two years will probably be busier. There is no escaping it, he said according to newspaper AD.

Over the past weekend people traveling through the Netherlands' main airport faced massive lines at security and check-ins. A number of flights were delayed due to overcrowded runways. Airlines including KLM and Transavia asked passengers to arrive at the airport three hours in advance, even for European flights, to make sure they don't miss their flight because they are still standing in line at security. 

Schiphol already acknowledged that the number of passengers is growing way faster than expected. But according to the newspaper, Schiphol's main problem is that it underestimated the consequences the stronger than expected passenger growth will have in combination with the airport's physical constraints. Extra security guards seem a simple solution for speeding up the lines at security checks, but there is simply no additional space. 

The airport will soon create an intermediate floor for security check in the newly built (2014) Terminal 1. But for the other terminals there are no more solutions, according to the newspaper. There is also a new arrival terminal on the way. But the new A-terminal is only opening in 2023 and by then the passenger numbers will be significantly higher, if the current trend continues. 

The question is whether other Dutch airports will be able toe offer some relief. Lelystad airport will take over some of Schiphol's European flights in 2019, if all goes according to plan. But the airport can only handle 4 thousand flights per year, which hardly puts a dent in Schiphol's annual 500 thousand flight movements


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