LONDON – Schiphol, the Netherlands’ largest airport, and the gateway to the country, has now capped its maximum number of travellers due to a lack of staff.
The airport group Royal Schiphol Group announced to its fellow stakeholders especially airlines and travel organisations that the airport will need to place a limit on the number of passengers coming to and from the airport daily. Although the airport has a set of daily capacity that it can handle, it varies from day to day.
The busiest days in July saw 67,500 passengers and in August, this figure was at 72,500. This is due to the tight and strict Dutch labour laws, that have disabled the airport to hire extra security personnel for the summer peak season.
Without extra personnel, this would be havoc for travellers, and this means that passengers may miss their flight due to long lines at the security.
Schiphol understands that this condition is not ideal, but for the sake of the safety of passengers and personnel, passengers’ throughput levels, unfortunately, have to be capped.
The airport’s CEO, Dick Benschop expressed his concerns as he stated, “We are taking this measure with an unbelievably heavy heart. Everyone at Schiphol and all our partners want nothing more than to welcome all travellers with open arms, especially after the impact coronavirus has had.”
“A lot is possible at Schiphol this summer, but not everything. Setting a limit now means that the large majority of travellers will be able to travel from Schiphol in a safe and responsible way.”
Whilst the airport performed poorly for the past 2 years, it is good to see the airport crowded and busy. Demand for travel, especially via air travel is exceeding beyond exceptions. Nevertheless, the country is facing a labour shortage, which is also felt throughout the aviation community globally, from airlines to airports.
The shortage of security personnel is really a letdown and has led the airport group to re-adjust its passenger headcount forecast. The best scenario at the end of 2022, will see the airport welcoming 60 million passengers 2022, up from 25.5 million passengers in the previous year.
If personnel shortage drags on, the baseline will be well below the projected scenario. The airport is doing its best to keep hold of its employees, and also recruiting new staff members to join the team.
Recently the airport has been holding meetings with airlines and independent slot coordinators (ACNL) about the new measure. The slot coordinator is well aware of the capping of passenger levels, between 7th July and 31 July.
The ACNL will talk to airlines about the capacity slash, and within 2 weeks, airlines will know what will be the exact capped passenger levels at that time. Meanwhile, the airport is doing its best to expand its capacity.
This has a negative impact on Schiphol’s image and identity. It is a race against time for the airport to sort out the problem, otherwise, the airport’s image will be further tainted.