Avoiding the truth is a painful business for powerful public figures, especially if they have been forced to improve their communication with the public they serve.
Take Schiphol boss Gerlach Cerfontaine. The airport supremo wants to communicate better with residents living close to Schiphol because it appears their complaints are partly driven by irritation at not knowing what’s going on.
Schiphol is apparently one of the quietest airports in Europe, but gets a disproportionate number of complaints about noise.
So Cerfontaine has taken the bull by the horns: in a newspaper interview he promised to set a clear limit for the growth of flights… But then he got scared, let go of the horns and refused to say what that limit would be.
With a raging bull chasing after him and Schiphol’s complaint line bombarded with angry calls, he resorted to diversionary tactics. He said the airport expects a lot of planes to glide into landing in the future.
Under current plans, the number of flights at Schiphol is expected to increase by 50% by 2015. It’s going to take an awful lot gliding to counteract the noise from that lot.
The truth is Schiphol will continue to grow whatever limits are set and until the economic driver behind its expansion ceases. Residents already fear the worst and that’s why they’re complaining about one of the quietest airports in Europe.