Amsterdam Airport Schiphol appears to be on the verge of collapse
Measures taken by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to deal with staff shortages have forced airlines to use smaller-capacity planes or leave seats empty. Some airlines have taken the decision to send their own ground staff to the Netherlands.
Amsterdam-Schiphol was one of the five main hubs in Western Europe before the pandemic, along with Heathrow (London), Frankfurt, Adolfo Suarez-Madrid Barajas and Charles de Gaulle (Paris). Today, due to the lack of personnel, it has become one of the hardest hit by the indirect consequences of this. With demand growing rapidly, last month it had to cut its passenger capacity by almost 20% to avoid delays and cancellations.
Air Serbia reduces capacity, AirBaltic will follow
Air Serbia has had to reduce – since July 7 – its capacity by 28% on flights to Belgrade. According to Bloomberg, Air Serbia has asked authorities at Schiphol Airport to reconsider the reduction. AirBaltic said it was also asked to reduce the number of passengers on flights from Schiphol.
The Serbian and Latvian companies said they are “considering” legal action to seek compensation from the airport operator. Air Serbia, which operates nine weekly flights from Amsterdam, said the restrictions would cause it “great financial and reputational damage” due to the number of booked passengers who could not be rebooked.
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A Schiphol spokesperson responded by saying the airport is asking several airlines to reduce capacity to avoid “unmanageable queues”.
KLM is mobilizing for the summer holidays
Schiphol-based KLM said that due to staff shortages both at the airport and in the airline itself, it would have to take several steps to try to “bring the operation back and reduce the pressure on the employees”.
The airline has announced that between 10 and 20 daily flights to European destinations will be canceled until August 28. In addition, the sales of KLM and its regional subsidiary Cityhopper will be “severely” limited to make room for customers whose flights are canceled. Passengers whose flights are canceled will be notified and automatically re-booked on another flight.
On the freight side, there will be no more loading of packages on KLM Cityhopper aircraft to reduce the workload of ground staff. Bulk goods can also no longer be shipped in the hold for intercontinental flights: these goods will be palletized and delivered to the apron in containers. These measures will last until October 29.
Icelandair sends its own staff to Schiphol
Icelandair reacted to the problems at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol by sending its own support staff to the Netherlands. Ásdís Ýr Pétursdóttir, Icelandair’s chief information officer, told RÚV that the airline “did everything possible to minimize delays”, noting that even some crews – on their own initiative – helped with the loading of planes .
He added that “we sent staff to try to cover the baggage issues. We have added two baggage handlers to our ground crew in Amsterdam to try to speed up loading and unloading.” According to Pétursdóttir, the idea “has worked well” and will continue to be implemented in the short term. “We will see how it evolves and we may even roll it out to other airports,” he said. The executive concluded by saying that Icelandair had chartered a plane in an attempt to cover operational issues.