Extra security, IT personnel: Schiphol prepares for summer crowds

Amsterdam Schiphol packed before King's Day
People fill up the area above the KLM check in counters, also crowded with passengers. Apr. 24, 2017. (Mike O'Connor)

Schiphol airport is taking a number of extra measures to battle long waiting times and chaos at the airport during the summer holidays. Measures includes extra security personnel and technicians on permanent standby in case of IT problems, NOS reports. 

The airport is expecting about 200 thousand passengers per day during the summer period. So far Schiphol expects that every Thursday and Friday in July will be extremely busy for departing passengers, while arriving passengers can expect crowds every Sunday and Monday in August. The airport posted a calendar on its site showing days expected to be very busy. The calendar is updated as flights are booked.

There will be between 350 and 400 extra security personnel at Schiphol for July and August, as well as 12 additional points where EU passengers can scan their passports. And an extra point will be opened for passengers with no hand luggage that need to be scanned for suspicious items. Schiphol hopes that this will help prevent hour long lines like the airport faced in the May holidays. 

Schiphol CEO Jos Nijhuis himself will also be working as an airport assistant, helping passengers find their way to the right gates and security checks. "If a passenger stands in line for an hour, then that is Schiphol's fault. Of course I regret that bitterly", he said to the Telegraaf. 

According to Nijhuis, they knew there would be more travelers in the May holidays, but misjudged when the peaks would be. Schiphol learned from that experience, the CEO said. "In discussion we now decided to give priority to passengers leaving or transferring, you don't want people to miss their flights due to problems at passport control."

Whether these additional measures will be enough this summer, remains to be seen. According to the latest figures from Statistics Netherlands, the number of passengers traveling through Dutch airports increased by 9 percent over the past quarter. 

During the May holidays the crowds of passengers traveling through the airport spent hours in lines at security checks, to the extent that some missed their flights. KLM previously stated that the airline suffered "a few millions" in damages due to chaos at the airport. The Dutch airline filed a damage claim against Schiphol on Monday. 

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