Schiphol boss apologizes for airport turmoil, but more flights diverted this weekend
Schiphol director Dick Benschop has apologized to travelers for the problems that arose at the airport in recent weeks. "This May vacation period is painful," said the CEO. He attributed the problems to an increase in air passengers, and fewer available staff than those scheduled to work. The latter was partially due to coronavirus infections and workers out with the flu.
Benschop said that Schiphol has been recruiting additional workers for a long period of time. To this end, the airport gave financial guarantees to security companies. However, hiring and training security guards takes 12 weeks, also because background checks have to be completed before they are allowed to work at the airport. There are currently 100 security guards in training.
It will remain busy at the largest airport in the Netherlands for the foreseeable future. As a result, some flights will also have to divert to Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Eindhoven Airport next weekend.
Schiphol will continue to recruit additional staff to prevent further problems during the summer holiday period. In addition, the salary offered to security guards and baggage handlers is also on the table, said Benschop. A greater margin of error will also be taken into account when planning for the summer, compared to what was arranged during the vacation period that covers the end of April and beginning of May.
Schiphol will also regulate the number of flight movements on the basis of the number of available personnel, a measure which has not yet been implemented. Currently, the number of flights is limited due to other factors, such as runway capacity and environmental regulations.
Benschop does not yet know exactly how this restriction will work in practice. Schiphol will establish this in consultation with the airlines and travel organizations.
Reporting by ANP.