The Schiphol Airport group plans to cut its workforce of 3,000 by several hundred jobs after booking a loss of €246m in the first six months of this year. In addition, building work on a new terminal has been delayed for at least two years as the coronavirus epidemic continues to have an ‘unprecedented’ impact on air travel.
At Schiphol itself, passenger numbers plunged 62% compared with the first six months of 2019 while the number of aircraft movements more than halved. Cargo volumes were down 14.5%.
The group is now calling for further international collaboration to align travel requirements and the introduction of testing for travel to and from countries with an orange or red risk profile.
‘The international response is currently insufficiently aligned and coordinated and this impacts air travel, and therefore economic recovery,’ the company said in a statement.
The airport group expects total passenger numbers this year to be down between 55% and 72% and says the prospects for the coming years are also ‘extremely uncertain’. This means it will take at least until 2023 for flight travel to return to pre coronavirus levels, Schiphol said.
The group, which is owned by the Dutch state and local authorities, owns Amsterdam airport, plus Rotterdam and Lelystad, and has a majority stake in Eindhoven airport.
The impact of coronavirus on air travel also means that research into the prospects for Lelystad airport, which should be opened up to commercial traffic next year, also needs revising, experts have told the Volkskrant.
Lelystad is due to become an overspill location for Schiphol, focusing on budget and charter flights and allowing the main airport to focus on more lucrative business and trans continental flights.
However, researchers involved in a report on the added value which Lelystad will bring to the Dutch aviation sector now say their research needs to be looked at again. Coalition parties D66 and ChristenUnie also support that position, the paper said.
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