Another busy weekend ahead for Schiphol; Summer will be worse
Schiphol expects this coming weekend to be another crowded one with long queues of passengers waiting to get through security. And the summer holidays will look even worse, RTL Nieuws reports based on the latest update from the Airport Operation Center (APOC), which monitors the logistics processes at the airport.
Schiphol expects a critical situation at airport security on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, according to the broadcaster. Friday morning will be particularly crowded, with more passengers departing than security can handle in principle.
The crowds will continue through the rest of June, at least on the weekend. Once the summer holidays hit, the situation will worsen, according to the APOC update. Staff shortages will cause endless lines in July. In August, the situation will improve somewhat. But APOC stressed that these are only expectations, which can change either way.
At least no strikes are expected for the time being. Schiphol and the unions reached an agreement on lowering the workload of airport staff on Tuesday evening, hours before union FNV's ultimatum expired.
The forecast did not include Schiphol's action plan to reduce crowds, RTL Nieuws reported. Schiphol plans to take various measures, including reducing the number of slots in which a plane can land or take off from about 126,000 to 90,000 from June 1 to August 28. Fewer flights mean fewer passengers and, hopefully, fewer crowds.
"That is a reduction of 30 percent," Roel Elshout of Vluct-vertraagd.nl, where passengers can file a claim if their flight is delayed, said to the broadcaster. "In a conservative estimate, that means 1 million travelers affected."
Schiphol also plans to optimize the flow of passengers and make working at the airport more attractive so that it can attract more staff. But trade union CNV doesn't expect this to help with the coming summer crowds. "The shortage of people is estimated at 500 vacancies in private security alone. That is a huge gap," said Erik Maas of CNV. "Schiphol has to be realistic about that. You won't fill that gap before July, August. The training of a security guard takes at least 12 weeks. August will be long gone by then."
Chaos broke out at Schiphol airport on April 23, the first weekend of the May vacation, and has persisted ever since. The airport faced massive queues, passengers missing flights, and even incidents of aggression. Last week, the fire department handed out cookies and juice to people waiting in line because some were fainting from spending too much time on their feet.
Minister Mark Harbers of Infrastructure will debate the situation at Schiphol with the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, on Wednesday.