Schiphol, in queue, appoints new chief executive

Under pressure Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has appointed a new interim chief executive after months of chaos at one of Europe’s biggest airline hubs, with staff shortages leading to long queues and cancellations of flights.

Dick Benschop resigned as chief executive last month after Schiphol forced airlines to cut their number of flights and offered compensation to passengers who missed their planes.

“Ruud Sondag will be the new CEO of the Royal Schiphol Group from November 1,” said the airport, Europe’s third largest in 2019.

“The Supervisory Board has appointed him as interim until August 31, 2023,” he said in a statement.

Sondag is a seasoned senior executive and was previously chief executive of Dutch energy company Eneco, the airport added.

He is also a member of the supervisory board of the Dutch railway company ProRail and of the port of Rotterdam.

But Sondag faces a serious challenge to solve the current problems at Schiphol.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to thousands of layoffs, leading to severe staff shortages, especially with security screening of departing passengers.

Late last month, the beleaguered airport announced it would limit flights until at least March next year.

“Schiphol is a great company currently facing a huge challenge,” Sondag said in the statement.

“I am extremely motivated with all employees and stakeholders to get Schiphol back on track,” he said.

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