Travel agencies sue for damages caused by Schiphol chaos
ANVR is taking Schiphol to court. The leading Dutch association for travel agencies, tour operators, and other industry-related companies wants to recover the damages suffered due to the chaos at Schiphol, ANVR director Frank Oostdam confirmed after reports by AD.
The ANVR fears that many travel organizations could go bankrupt as a result of Schiphol’s problems. Also because travel organizations are obliged to pay for the costs of canceling holidays. This is a particular problem given that almost all companies in the travel industry still have little fat on their bones after two years of “corona misery,” Oostdam said.
Schiphol has been facing crowds and flight cancellations and delays due to staff shortages in baggage handling and airport security since the start of the May holiday. The airport will announce its plans to manage crowds during the upcoming summer holiday today or tomorrow. According to De Telegraaf, the airport will cancel up to 30 percent of flights scheduled for the summer - dozens of flights per day, likely between mid-July and mid-August.
Due to the chaos, Netherlands residents more and more often avoid Schiphol and choose to fly from an airport in Belgium or Germany. Regional airports like Rotterdam, Eindhoven, and Maastricht are also popular, travel organizations Sunweb, TUI, and Corendon noticed.
According to Sunweb, at least one in six Dutch travelers opt to depart from a German or Belgian airport. Brussels Airport gained popularity during the May holiday. Sunweb itself is also diverting to other airports to try and avoid the crowds at Schiphol.
TUI called Sunweb’s findings “not so surprising” also because Netherlands residents continuously see the problems at Schiphol in the media. This makes customers “a bit shy,” according to a TUI spokesperson. The organization pointed out that diverting flights is not an easy thing to do. According to TUI, the reality at Schiphol is somewhat better than the general picture in the media.
Corendon also noticed an increased interest in holiday flights from Maastricht or Groningen, for example. In addition, there is also growing demand for holiday flights from foreign airports just across the border.
But Schiphol is not the only airport dealing with chaos resulting from staff shortages. Brussels Airport advised travelers flying on Monday to rebook their flight. Strikes by security company G4S and a national protest in the capital of Belgium will cause “a major impact on services” on Monday, the airport said. Airlines are already rescheduling flights “to avoid hours of waiting at the security screening.”
At Dusseldorf airport in Germany, about a hundred employees went on strike on Wednesday afternoon due to the workload and chaos at the airport in recent weeks. Union Verdi told Rheinische Post that each shift has about 100 too few people to do the work properly.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times