Schiphol airport to limit peak-time passenger numbers by 5% this spring

Queues at Schiphol last year. Photo: Molly Quell
Queues at Schiphol last year. Photo: Molly Quell

Schiphol airport is to cut passenger numbers until the end of April because of ongoing staff shortages, reversing an earlier decision to end restrictions.

The number of people passing through the airport during the morning peak period will be reduced by 5% between now and the beginning of the school holidays.

Last month Schiphol said it was likely to have to limit numbers during the May holiday period, but it had hoped to give travellers a temporary reprieve from March 26.

Last summer a shortage of baggage handlers and security staff forced the airport to cap the number of passengers at 50,000 a day. Airlines had to cancel or reschedule flights and the airport had to pay €350 for every passenger who missed their trip.

A spokesman for the airport said the problem was less acute than last year, when up to 18% of departures were cancelled during the peak holiday season. Since then a pay rise has been agreed for security staff and the number of unfilled vacancies has halved.

However, airlines are still grappling with shortages of check-in staff and the airport needs to recruit more ground handlers.

‘We all know the scenes from last year and the long queues,’ the spokesman said. ‘That’s not safe for holidaymakers and people travelling for work.

‘We want to prevent that, which is why we want to bring in a safety margin of 5% fewer passengers until the May school holiday.’

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