Schiphol chaos caused by gov't plans to shrink the airport: Travel agency group
The continuing long lines and staff shortages at Schiphol airport are related to the government’s plans to shrink the airport, Arjan Kers, CEO of travel company TUI and chairman of the association for travel agencies ANVR, said to De Telegraaf. He expects the airport will soon announce restrictions on traveler numbers for the winter months.
From the end of 2023, Schiphol will be allowed up to 440,000 flight movements per year - 60,000 fewer than the current 500,000 flight movements per year. Kers thinks Schiphol is allowing the chaos to continue to keep flight movements below the new limit even before it is implemented.
“I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I can’t explain it any other way. Everything indicates that the shrinkage agenda is leading because the problems can simply be solved,” he said to the newspaper. “You can’t run a business like this.
After the resignation of Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop, Kers calls on the remaining Schiphol management to act and remedy the staff shortages at the airport, whether major shareholder the Dutch State wants it or not. The entire travel sector, from airlines to travel agencies and hotels, depends on it, he said. “Put down a bag of money, go on and arrange it. Or tell us honestly that you are not allowed. But then I’d quit if I were them.”
The problems at Schiphol are mainly caused by a shortage of security workers. There are not enough security guards to handle all the passport and security checks, resulting in departing passengers often having to stand in line for hours, sometimes missing their flights. The chaos started on April 23 - the first weekend of the May vacation - and has been common ever since.
In July, Schiphol limited the number of travelers who could depart per day for the first time. It’s since extended those cuts to at least the end of October. Kers expects similar cuts for the winter months.
Schiphol said in a response that the reduced flight movements taking effect at the end of next year are unrelated to the current problems. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management refused to comment.