The Schiphol airport authority has warned that it will be busy every day up to and including the summer because of staff shortages, website Nu.nl reported on Wednesday.
The shortage of staff, which has led to passengers waiting hours and sometimes missing flights, is affecting all parts of the airport operation including security, check-in desks and baggage handling, the spokesman said.
‘Up to and including the summer it will be a similar situation to during the May holidays,’ the spokesman told Nu.nl. In the May break, queues to pass security stretched out of the airport building and dozens of flights were cancelled or moved to other airports.
The airport’s website states that Wednesday is a peak period, with long queues at check-in, security and passport control. The situation in the arrival halls is also busy and there are long queues at passport control and at the baggage reclaim area, Schiphol said.
Trade union CNV told local broadcaster NH Nieuws the situation is so serious that extra help is needed to make sure no-one gets hurt. ‘We are getting worrying signals’, spokesman Erik Maas said. Border police should be brought in at peak periods to ‘de-escalate’ the situation if necessary, he said.
‘Passengers have been waiting in the queue for hours and then just as they get to the front, we close the lane,’ one security official was quoted as saying. ‘Then people start shouting, whistling and hitting against the windows.’
Other security guards said that sometimes large groups of people force their way forward. ‘There is no way of controlling these groups,’ one told NH Nieuws.
Others have called for the army to be brought in to help out.
However, junior defence minister Christophe van der Maat has said that soldiers will not be deployed to diffuse problems at Schiphol. It is not up to the army to come and sort out the mess, he is quoted as saying by RTL Nieuws. ‘Particularly not if the private sector should be doing it.’
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