Canceled flights cost Schiphol millions per day
Schiphol offered airlines 350 euros per traveler per canceled flight to lower the number of travelers through the airport in the coming days. This temporary solution could cost the airport over 3 million euros per day. Airlines called it “only a bandaid on a sore wound,” the Volkskrant reports.
Hours-long lines returned to Schiphol last week when security guards left the airport because the summer bonus lapsed. Schiphol called on airlines to decrease departing passengers by another 18 percent until the end of October. That is over 9,000 fewer passengers per day and comes on top of the previously announced cap of 69,500 departing passengers per day.
According to Schiphol, this 350 euros per canceled passenger is to encourage airlines to take measures more quickly. The slot coordinator said on Thursday that the effect of the new passenger cap would only become visible next week because airlines need time to figure out how to reduce their passenger numbers. So long lines are expected for the coming days.
“We see that it is challenging for the airlines to limit the number of passengers in the short term,” a spokesperson for the airport said to the newspaper. The bonus helped “persuade” the few airlines that could still make a difference.
The temporary financial incentive “will apply until the effects of the announced reduction are visible,” the spokesperson said.
Airlines aren’t very enthusiastic about the compensation, worrying that they’ll eventually pay for it themselves through increased rates at the airport. BARIN, the industry association for airlines active in the Netherlands, said the airlines agreed with “some reluctance.”
“It became clear that pitch black days were coming at Schiphol again. That is why we committed,” BARIN chairman Marnix Fruitema said to the Volkskrant. He pointed out that this is not a structural solution. “Every canceled flight is just a bandaid on a sore wound.”
Other companies in the travel sector are baffled by the compensation for airlines. Why didn’t Schiphol previously push these millions into recruiting extra security guards and making it more attractive for them to work at the airport, businesses in the travel sector asked De Telegraaf.
“Penny-wise, pound-foolish,” Prisvrij CEO Marc van Deursen said to the newspaper.
“To my knowledge, it has never happened before that an airport pays airlines not to fly. The need is apparently so great that the airlines are indemnified against further claims,” aviation lecturer Joris Mekert of TU Delft said.