Dutch flag carrier KLM has cancelled 56 flights this weekend in response to staff shortages but more may still be scrapped, a spokesman told news agency ANP on Friday afternoon.
The Schiphol airport authority has urged tour operators and airlines to scrap flights to relieve pressure on the airport during the May holiday peak period.
Tour operator Corendon has also agreed to move two flights to Rotterdam The Hague airport this weekend, but other companies have said they will not cancel flights and wreck people’s holidays.
The airport is struggling to keep up with the surge in air travel, which is back at pre-pandemic levels over the spring holiday weekends. Staff shortages at both airlines and security are making the problem worse.
Cancelling flights is an ‘irritating but necessary measure to reduce the number of travellers so that we can deal with the pressure properly,’ a spokesman for the airport told broadcaster NOS.
Travellers who booked flights this weekend are being asked to contact their airline to confirm the flight is going ahead. The airport authority is also warning passengers they may experience longer waiting times and may have to queue outside the terminal.
Last weekend a wildcat strike by KLM baggage handlers compounded the problems at Schiphol and led to over 100 flights being cancelled. Roads to the airport were also closed for a time.
Not all airlines are happy about the airport’s request and tour operators have slammed the lack of provision for the holiday period.
Frank Oostdam, director of travel agents’ association ANVR, told the Telegraaf the call for cancellations highlights ‘the decline of a once great airport and says everything about the Schiphol and KLM business model.’
‘The problems started with them on Saturday so let them solve it,’ he said. ‘But instead, they are doing all they can to make sure transfer passengers are not affected. Dutch holidaymakers should not be missing out on the holiday they have been looking forward to because of international transfer passengers.’
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