Many Dutch people avoiding Schiphol this holiday due to expected crowds
The Dutch will fly more often from either a regional Dutch airport, or from alternatives in Germany and Belgium during the April-May holiday period to avoid the crowds they think will materialize at Schiphol Airport, said travel organization Sunweb and review and travel website Zoover. People from the east of the country have largely opted for Düsseldorf or Weeze Airport, right next to the Limburg border with Germany.
Last year it was extremely busy at Schiphol during the April-May school holiday period, mainly due to staff shortages. As a result, travelers had to wait for hours at security checkpoints, and in many cases missed their flights because of the queues. Last February, Schiphol announced that it would force airlines at the airport to reduce the maximum number of departing passengers by about 5 percent to prevent the risk of delays.
Travelers are not only avoiding Schiphol because of last year's chaos, said a spokesperson for Sunweb Group, which includes the Sunweb and Eliza Was Here brands. "Flying from a German airport such as Weeze is cheaper for the Dutch because of the lower air passenger tax. The parking costs are also lower and they pass the security check faster," she said.
Sunweb will fly from Weeze to the Greek islands of Crete and Rhodes for the first time this weekend. The bookings are going well, according to the spokesperson. Half as many travelers will depart from Brussels this year compared to the previous May holiday.
The choice of an airport also depends on where people live, said the spokesperson. People who live in the west of the country are more likely to choose Rotterdam The Hague Airport. About 20 percent more passengers will depart from that airport this May holiday compared to last year. Schiphol will remain the most important airport, she said.
In recent weeks, the Dutch have booked a flight from Düsseldorf a bit more often, said Zoover. In that period, 34 percent of travelers booked a flight from the German airport. One in three people also wanted to fly from Schiphol.
Many planes to popular holiday destinations on Zoover, such as Turkey and Egypt, depart from German airports. "Due to the news about the earthquakes, there are fewer bookings for Turkey, but that has started to pick up again in recent weeks," said Zoover campaign manager Sterre Hoek. Schiphol will still be the most popular airport throughout 2023, Zoover predicted.
Reporting by ANP