Dick Benschop Steps Down as CEO of Schiphol Airport

Exterior view of Schiphol Airport terminal.
Shirley de Jong, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Dick Benschop announced on September 15 that he will be stepping down as CEO of Schiphol Airport amidst several scandals.

Drama at Schiphol

As many of us already know, Schiphol has been in hot water very often over the course of these last few months during the early stages of the summer period, when the airport experienced an immense peak, a peak so great that not a lot of people could handle it.

A couple of days ago, when everyone thought that the situation at Schiphol Airport was finally permanently over, the €5.25 bonus for security workers for the summer peak has been stopped, as the summer period is now over.

This bonus was used for security guards to entice them to go to work at Schiphol. Once that bonus stopped, however, the lines have returned and again, there have been massive delays at Schiphol.

Photo: Dick Benschop CEO Schiphol Airport. Photo Credit: Robert Goddyn via Wikimedia Commons

This was enough for Dick Benschop, as he has resigned as CEO of Schiphol.

Dick Benschop CEO statement

“There is a lot of attention, and also criticism, for the way in which Schiphol tackles the problems and about my responsibility as CEO,” Benschop said, adding that it was his choice to step down. “I do not want the attention on me personally to become an obstacle for Schiphol,” he continued.

“I’ve done my very best, but we’re not there yet. I do hope it gets better soon. I love Schiphol,” Benschop said.

According to the NL Times, the lines at the airport were so bad on Monday 12 September, that the airport asked airlines at the last minute to cancel flights, which angered airlines.

“Due to the situation and the continuing bad news, the Supervisory Board has had very intensive contact with Schiphol’s management in recent months,” said Jaap Winter, the supervisory board Chair for the airport.

“Drastic measures were taken under Dick’s leadership to stabilize the situation at Schiphol. Improvements were made in the summer, but this was not enough. Further intervention in the capacity and in the management of security is necessary.”

His move to resign comes, in a way, as a shock to many, as Benschop himself said that he wouldn’t resign back in May after the first wave of criticisms came as he had failed to anticipate the number of travellers that would be going on holiday.

Limit on flights

One of the few things that Schiphol did do as a kind of countermeasure against the huge number of travellers that were going on vacation, is that Schiphol had to limit flights that were going in and out, as not only were there long queues but there was also the issue of the lost luggage for many passengers.

One thing that should be taken into account is that the staff shortages definitely aren’t an easy fix, as explained earlier. The Dutch minister Mark Harbers has commented on the situation, stating that the staff shortages aren’t exclusive to the aviation industry.

While that is true, it shouldn’t be the only excuse for them to use all of the time, as any industry who needs a lot of people for 1 thing means that they are doing something that’s upsetting a lot of people, either making them leave or them getting fired.

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