Dozens of Schiphol flights delayed, cancelled due to air traffic control problems

Dozens of Schiphol flights delayed, cancelled due to air traffic control problems

Dozens of flights have been cancelled or delayed due to technical problems with the air traffic control systems at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. The disruption began around 11.30 on Tuesday morning and officials are unable to say when the problem might be fixed. By 15.30, KLM had cancelled at least 50 flights within Europe, while other flights from the Dutch flag carrier are being delayed by up to four hours. British Airways and Flybe have also been hit by the disruption but Easyjet says none of its flights have so far been affected. Travellers are being urged to keep a close eye on departure boards to check the status of their flights. 'We have put extra people on the job in an effort to end the problems,' the air traffic control centre said. 'We are well aware of the consequences this has for travellers, airlines and the airport.'  More >



Amsterdam gears up to settle 900 EMA staff

Average Dutch home mortgage reaches a record high The news that Amsterdam will host the European Medicines Agency when it leaves London after Brexit has been widely welcomed for its impact on both the Netherlands' reputation as a location to do business and the likely knock-on effect on employment. Nevertheless, there are considerable issues to solve within the 16 months set aside for the move, officials warn. The decision 'marks the official start of a challenging joint relocation project that will have to be delivered within extremely tight deadlines... and completed by March 30, 2019,' the London-based body said after the result of the European ministers' vote was announced. In particular, the EMA has a workforce of some 890, most of whom will move to the Dutch capital and will need suitable housing. EMA workers also have 600 plus children under the age of 18, many of whom will need to be found places at international schools and daycare centres. The Amsterdam bid included a commitment to implement a relocation plan with a dedicated team of experts to help staff make the move. The city has already guaranteed that the children of EMA staff will have access to international education and that 'housing in the different segments is readily available.' It is unclear, as yet, how the city, already grappling with a shortage of affordable homes, will cope with the new influx. Mike Russell, director of housing group Principle Vastgoed told DutchNews.nl that supply in the city is already short and the budgets available to the EMA staffers will drive everything, which ever segment they are looking in. 'If they have €1,800 plus to spend, that is going to put upward pricing pressure on the market,' he said. 'Amsterdam pitched itself as a great place to live and everyone who makes the move here is coming for the Amsterdam experience, not the Almere experience.' Purpose built office The EMA will first be housed in temporary offices before moving to a purpose-built building in Amsterdam's Zuidas district next to the EY offices. The building will be some 80 metres high with 19 floors and will cost between €250m and €300m to build. The tab for the new building, named Vivaldi, is being picked up by the Dutch government which will rent it to the EMA for the market rate. The government is also providing an €18m sweetener to help pay for the move. Zuidas director David van Traa says the arrival of the EMA will further boost the district's profile as a top location to do business. In addition, he said, 'the many international workers and visitors will undoubtably contribute to making Zuidas a more lively place as it moves from being a business district to a unique new district of Amsterdam where you can live and work.'  More >


Former NS chief faces jail for fraud

Average Dutch home mortgage reaches a record high Former Dutch railways director Timo Huges should be jailed for one year for his ‘very serious failings’ during the Limburg regional transport tender process, the public prosecution department said on Tuesday. Two other senior railway staff should be jailed for eight and 10 months while three others face community service and fines of up to €50,000 for their role in the scandal. State-owned railway company NS also faces a fine of €3bn for industrial espionage during the competition to provide regional rail services in Limburg in 2014. The Dutch anti-cartel body ACM in June fined NS almost €41m for breaking competition law during the tender process. The contract was originally awarded to Abellio – a subsidiary of the NS. However, in late April 2015 evidence emerged of ‘serious irregularities’ in the contract process. In particular, NS officials are said to have passed on confidential information about Veolia – a competitor for the lucrative €2bn contract – to its Abellio and Qbuzz subsidiaries. The public prosecutor says Huges was not only responsible for the criminal behaviour but was also ‘actively involved’ in committing criminal acts, hence the call for a non-suspended prison term. Qbuzz has since been sold to BusItalia while Abellio now concentrates on railway concessions outside the Netherlands. After the scandal broke, Limburg a awarded the 15-year licence for bus and regional train services to Arriva, a British company now owned by German railway group Deutsche Bahn.  More >



Dik Wessels, 3rd richest Dutchman, dies

Building tycoon Dik Wessels, 3rd richest Dutchman, dies at the age of 71 Dik Wessels, one of the most successful businessmen in the Netherlands, who formed construction giant Volker Wessels, has died at the age of 71. He was ranked third on the Quote 500 rich list in 2017 with his assets estimated at €4bn. Wessels had been in poor health for some time and had recently undergone a bypass operation, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Tuesday afternoon. 'I never set out to be rich. I got a lot of pleasure out of being a businessman,' Wessels told the paper in an interview in 2015. Wessels liked to keep things simple, but he built up VolkerWessels to an international construction company with 14,500 employees. He was also a major supporter of FC Twente, sinking millions of euros into his local football club. Wessels grew up in Rijssen in rural Overijssel province. His father had a building company with three on the payroll. His older brother had little interest in taking the company over because Wessels senior wanted to keep it small. Aged just 14, Dik got involved.  It was only after Wessels senior's death in the 1980s that the company really grew. Dik Wessels brought the company to the stock exchange twice, the second time earlier this year when the Wessels family cashed in 30% of their shares, earning €600m on the transaction.  More >


Amsterdam hotels headed for record profits

Average Dutch home mortgage reaches a record high Despite the inroads made by Airbnb and the objections of local residents against the ever-increasing flood of tourists in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam hotels are headed for record profits in 2017. The popularity of Amsterdam among tourists and business people, particularly those headed for international congresses, continues unabated, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday. The average per-night price of a hotel room has shot up to €140 from €131 as the occupancy rate hovers around 83.7%, the highest level since 2000, the paper said, quoting figures from property advisory group Colliers. Amsterdam has 'a healthy mix of tourists and business people which contribute to a high occupancy rate, even at weekends,' said Leon Dijkstra whose Hampshire Hotels group includes the American Hotel in Leidseplein. NH Hotels, the Spanish hotel group which is the largest within the ring, and includes the Krasnapolsky Hotel on the Dam, is also pleased with Amsterdam. 'Our turnover was up 11.8% in October,' NH said in a statement over third-quarter earnings. Foreign investors are attracted to Amsterdam with the buoyant hotel market and they are paying top prices averaging out at €427,000 a room. This equates to the price of a corner house in the city.  More >