Further Schiphol restrictions will cost sector millions; KLM sees no extra cancellations
The extra restrictions at Schiphol in September and October will probably cause millions of euros in additional damage for airlines. And that is on top of all the damages the industry already suffered this summer, predicted chairman Marnix Fruitema of BARIN, the association of airlines active in the Netherlands. KLM does not expect to have to cancel extra flights.
Because Schiphol will restrict the number of departing passengers for another two months, the airlines are able to sell far fewer tickets and therefore miss out on turnover. Fruitema called the airport’s announcement “very disappointing” and “unexpected.” He pointed out that Schiphol previously said that things would get better in August. “I also don’t know what to believe about Schiphol anymore.”
Schiphol announced that it would limit the number of departing passengers to 67,500 per day in September and 69,500 per day in October. That is the number of passengers the available security capacity can handle.
Airline KLM does not expect to have to cancel flights as a result. The company will sell fewer seats to Dutch travelers in this period. The airline will remain in talks with Schiphol. The aim is to “avoid restrictions on the KLM operation and our customers.”
Transavia said it is “doing everything it can” to allow as many people as possible to travel. What the exact impact will be is as yet unknown. The airline expects more clarity in a week and a half.
TUI also said that it does not yet know the consequences for travelers. The slots for Schiphol for that period are not yet known. Still, the spokesperson is confident that the autumn holidays can continue. “We can do it in the summer, so it should also work in the fall.”
The British airline EasyJet said it would take measures to ensure that as many Schiphol flights as possible can continue. EasyJet passengers can check their hand luggage for free on several flights to get through security faster. Travelers who end up missing their flight due to the Schiphol crowds can rebook for free with the ground staff. And EasyJet launched a special helpline for families with children and extended its customer service hours.
The British budget airline said it regrets the decision's impact but understands it is a “necessary step” for Schiphol to keep the airport operational. EasyJet does not want to get ahead of itself and anticipate cancelations. It awaits the decision of the slot coordinator.
Slot coordinator Hugo Thomasson, director of Airport Coordination Netherlands (ACNL), said that travelers who already booked a flight wouldn’t be much affected by the limits Schiphol set for September and October. “They may have to leave from another airport or take another flight. But I don’t expect tickets to be canceled,” said Thomassen. “That’s different from July when people were really disappointed.”
According to him, reducing capacity at Schiphol does not necessarily mean that flights have to be canceled altogether. “Airlines can also stop bookings for flights that are not yet full. Flights can also be moved to Rotterdam, for example,” said the slot coordinator, although that airport already informed ANP that it has no space.
Reporting by ANP