Schiphol to reduce crowds with new landing slot rule; Labor union talks continue
Schiphol introduced new rules for take-off and landing rights, which should ensure that fewer flights depart from Schiphol this summer. The new rules guarantee airlines that their slots, when an aircraft is allowed to take off or land, will not be filled by another airline if they choose not to use them. The airport is also in talks with trade unions about lowering the workload of its employees.
Schiphol expects that this will result in airlines giving some of their slots back. "That leads to fewer flights and allows better planning." Airlines will retain the rights to a slot if they do not use it this summer, Schiphol said.
The airport currently has 126,000 slots. The new rules will allow that to decrease to 90,000 this summer. That is not a target number; it is a "broad" maximum, said an airport spokesperson. The airlines can voluntarily decide not to use the slots. The spokesperson said the airport discussed the measure with the airlines, and they "support" it.
The new rules will apply from June 1 to August 28 and are part of a package of measures to reduce crowds and chaos at the airport. The airport will announce more measures on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Schiphol met with trade unions to discuss solutions to the significant problems of crowds and work pressure at the understaffed airport. The talks are proceeding "constructively," Schiphol said afterward. Due to a lack of security guards and baggage handlers, the airport faced massive queues, passengers missing flights, and even incidents of aggression recently.
Schiphol said that the negotiations with the unions are ongoing. "We have a common goal to reach an agreement before June 1." Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop did not attend the talks on Wendesday. According to the airport, he is closely involved in the discussions and aware of what is happening.
CNV Vakmensen director Erik Maas also said that the negotiations were constructive and that it is imperative that they achieve results. "We have to get through it because the pressure is very great. There are major challenges to making Schiphol attractive again. Safety is at stake." Maas said there is a shortage of 500 security guards at the airport. They are discussing, among other things, a fixed monthly allowance of two years for employees at Schiphol, Maas said.
On Tuesday, FNV threatened large-scale actions at Schiphol because the workload at the airport remains much too high for security officers, baggage handlers, and others. The union ants an agreement on improving working conditions before June 1. FNV could not be reached for a comment on the negotiations.
Another meeting is scheduled for Monday.
Reporting by ANP