KLM preemptively cancels dozens more weekend flights fearing Schiphol crowds
Dutch airline KLM will cancel at least 47 flights scheduled for Saturday and Sunday due to the expected crowds at Schiphol Airport. The airline had earlier cancelled the departures and arrivals of 28 round-trip pairings on Friday. With the new cancellations, KLM is hoping to keep both the crowds at the airport manageable, as well as the workload for its staff.
After the latest round of flights were scratched from the schedule for the weekend, the airline said late Friday afternoon that it does not expect more cancellations, but it cannot rule out the possibility. KLM is calling on travelers to arrive at the airport with ample time to get through check-in, security, and passport control procedures.
Schiphol Airport previously requested that airlines help in reducing pressure this weekend. Airlines responded to the call by cancelling flights, rebooking passengers, and relocating some flights to nearby Rotterdam The Hague Airport, according to a spokesperson for Schiphol. The Amsterdam-area airport said on Friday that it lowered its passenger estimates in the coming days because of the changes.
Some airlines are still investigating which flights can be moved, but Schiphol's goal of having 3,500 fewer passengers at the airport on Saturday has been "nearly achieved", said the airport spokesperson. Travellers still have to take into account crowds and waiting times, according to the spokesperson.
KLM ground crew staff walked off the job in a wildcat strike last weekend out of frustration with the intense workload they said they faced. As a result, dozens of flights were cancelled, and luggage often did not make it to the flights which used the airport. Employees also feared for their jobs because KLM said it wanted to work more with an outsourcing company instead of offering job security to their existing workers.
In the meantime, KLM's management has already held talks with personnel representatives within the company about issues such as work pressure and scheduling. More talks with labor unions are also planned.
Some problems at Schiphol are also caused by runway maintenance. Together with unfavorable wind direction, this caused disruptions in flight schedules.
Reporting by ANP.