Schiphol could face massive damages claim from Dutch consumer group
The Dutch consumer association, Consumentenbond, is investigating the possibility of claiming damages against Schiphol airport on behalf of many airline passengers. Multiple summer flights scheduled to depart from the airport or arrive there will likely be canceled, which means that many people’s holidays will be ruined. The advocacy group believes that Schiphol should compensate for this. A Schiphol spokesperson said it will respond if such a claim is filed against the airport.
“Flights are planned months in advance, and the airport knows how many flights, on average, depart during a normal summer holiday. It is incomprehensible that panic breaks out so short before the summer, and travelers are the victims. This is amateurism at its best,” Sandra Molenaar, director of the Consumentenbond, said.
Schiphol will limit the number of passengers processed in July. This means that Schiphol will cancel up to several hundred flights per day, the Consumentenbond calculated. In that case, passengers with a package holiday can turn to their travel organization, which must arrange an alternative flight or refund the travel sum. “Travelers with a separate flight ticket are also entitled to an alternative flight or money back. However, they are stuck with the cancellation costs of self-booked travel components, such as a holiday home, hotel, or rental car.”
The association finds it unacceptable “that hundreds of thousands of travelers lose money through no fault of their own.” The Consumentenbond is therefore investigating whether it can assist victims and recover their damage through a mass claim against the airport.
A Schiphol spokesperson said in response that it will assess such claims as soon as they are received. The airport announced on Thursday that it will not be able to handle an average of 13,500 passengers using the airport if the airlines sell every available seat on flights to or from the airport. That is equivalent to about 17 percent of the number of seats that were actually planned per day on average. The airport slot coordinator is working to determine what the impact will be per airline. They will be notified of the outcome next week.
The spokesman for the airport also indicated that, if it turns out to be a lawsuit, the airport will explain what steps have been taken, and what the thought process was behind its decisions.
Reporting by ANP