Wednesday 07 December 2022

Schiphol to slash passenger numbers to avoid more summer chaos

Dick Benschop and Patricia Vitalis explain the cuts. Photo: Evert Elsinga ANP

Schiphol plans to cut the number of passengers using its facilities by an average of 13,500 a day in July and restrictions on flights will continue well into August, airport chief Dick Benschop has confirmed. The figures for August will be released in two weeks’ time.

The decision to slash flight numbers follows weeks of chaos and long queues at Schiphol, which has a shortage of security staff and baggage handlers in particular.

‘This measure will make sure that the majority of passengers can travel from Schiphol safely and with confidence,’ Benschop said on Thursday evening. ‘But there will also be people who cannot fly.’

Dozens to hundreds of flights will be scrapped on the busiest days and the pain will be spread across airlines, Schiphol’s operations director Patricia Vitalis said. ‘We are also motivating airlines to use regional airports where there is still space,’ she told reporters.

Dutch flag carrier KLM says it will cut back on ticket sales and that it did not expect to have to cancel many flights. Transavia told broadcaster NOS it would have to reduce services while Corendon said it would cut flights and shift them to other airports.

Tour operator association ANVR, meanwhile, says it plans to take legal action against Schiphol for failing to deal with the chaos. It expects some holiday firms will go bust, partly because travel firms are required by law to cover the cost of cancellations themselves.

Meanwhile, the government is reportedly planning to enforce a permanent reduction in the number of flights to and from Schiphol because it does not meet noise, nitrogen and fine particulate pollution rules.

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