Schiphol predicts even larger crowds on Sunday
Schiphol estimates that it will be even busier on Sunday than on Saturday. It is asking airlines to take more drastic measures to reduce travelers in the airport, including canceling flights.
On Saturday, Schiphol aimed to reduce the number of travelers by 3,500, while on Sunday, the airport is aiming for 5,800 fewer visitors. "We are not there yet," operational director Patricia Vitalis of Schiphol admitted. However, she said KLM no longer requires cancellations. The airline already announced that it would cancel 47 flights for Saturday and Sunday.
But other airlines that normally transfer a lot of people at Schiphol might be able to use other European airports, Vitalis says. Just like Saturday, some flights will also be transferred to Rotterdam The Hague Airport on Sunday. For the time being, this only applies to two flights, one from Transavia and one from Corendon.
EasyJet does not intend to change its flight schedule at Schiphol airport, a spokesperson for the budget airline said on Saturday evening. "Although we do not plan to cancel flights in advance, we are in talks with Schiphol about other solutions," he said. It is not known what possible solutions are involved.
According to Vitalis, Schiphol is concerned with the safety of passengers and staff in the terminal. There are so many people that the security "unfortunately" cannot handle the crowds.
On Sunday, she expects about 70,000 departing passengers to pass through the security gates, or 10,000 more than on Saturday. Meanwhile, all incoming and departing passengers, including transfer passengers, will bring these numbers up even higher.
"It was very busy this morning and there were long lines at the check-in desks," Vitalis says. "People sometimes had to queue for two hours to get through security."
A glance at the departure boards revealed that flights had also been delayed. Schiphol employees tried to steer the passenger flows in the right direction as much as possible and the fire brigade handed out water to waiting travelers. However, the worst of the crowds passed by the end of the afternoon.
Vitalis acknowledges that the situation is "very distressing for travelers." But she does not rule out the possibility that Schiphol will ask airlines to cancel flights more often this year.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the airport is suffering from major staff shortages. People lost their jobs during the pandemic because of fewer flights for nearly two year and not everyone has returned to their old job.
Reporting by ANP