Schiphol staff shortages not easily solved: Minister
Minister Mark Harbers of Infrastructure and Water Management called it "very annoying" for travelers that Schiphol is so crowded again, but thinks that the problems may prove persistent. "Staff shortage is a problem that extends beyond aviation alone, and that cannot be solved 1, 2, 3," he said.
The Ministry is "monitoring the situation" and is in contact with Schiphol, the Minister said. "It is good that Schiphol is talking to airlines to look for solutions to manage crowds for the coming weeks and the summer holidays. I am keeping a finger on the pulse."
The problems at the airport are caused by too few people working to handle the passenger flow. The airport, therefore, tried to reduce passenger numbers on Sunday but failed. The airlines are also annoyed that the airport cannot handle the flow of passengers. Trade association IATA called the problems scandalous.
Parliamentarian Wybren van Haga is also upset about the problems at the airport. "Schiphol could have expected the crowds but is reacting pathetically and asking travel organizations to cancel bookings and not take any new bookings for next week," he said on Saturday.
Van Haga called Schiphol director Dick Benschop lame and believes he should tackle this problem with "tarring and feathering." In addition, Harbers should reverse the increase in airport charges that airlines have to pay to operate at Schiphol this year.
VVD MP Daniel Koerhuis went to look at the situation at the airport, he said on Twitter on Sunday. He spoke to Dutch people standing in line who were afraid that they would miss their holiday. "Heard terrible stories," he said.
He finds it incomprehensible that Lelystad Airport has not yet been put into use, even though the airport is ready. According to him, that airport could relieve Schiphol by taking over the holiday traffic.
Independent MP Pieter Omtzigt disagrees with that reasoning. He noted that the airport in Flevoland can only handle a fraction of the Schiphol passengers and would also face the same staff shortages. "On Labour Day, May 1, you might consider the fact that there are people who take the suitcases out of planes for minimum wage." They struggle to make ends meet, he said.
Reporting by ANP.